Kevin Spain @kevin_spain 2h
more on the phil jackson situation from the man who had a 1 on 1 with him last weekend, @sam_amick: http://ow.ly/umzMa
"So," I asked the 11-time champion coach after our interview over breakfast had come to an end, "am I going to see you soon or not?"
"We'll see," he said. "I don't want to be on the sidelines. That's for damned sure."
My strong sense at the time was that Jackson wouldn't have agreed to do the interview unless this was part of a bigger play, and sure enough he left plenty of crumbs on the trail of his potential return from retirement during our discussion. The aforementioned declaration that he didn't want to coach was the biggest of all, as Jackson didn't hesitate to make widely known what it appears he told the Knicks in their meeting.
But there was this doozy, too, one that was almost immediately picked up by writers in New York who have learned to decode Jackson's dialect as well as anyone.
"There are winners and losers in the NBA, and a lot of people are trying to reclaim their position or change their culture or whatever," Jackson, who played 10 seasons for the Knicks and was part of their 1973 championship team, had said. "So yeah, there is (opportunity). I've had conversations. Some of them are feelers. 'Are you interested?' type of thing."
And while we wait for clarity on the New York front, the Detroit issue that Jackson discussed at length is, the person close to the situation said, most certainly worth watching going forward as well. Jackson, who has served as an unpaid consultant to Pistons owner, friend and fellow Los Angeles resident Tom Gores and embattled general manager Joe Dumars, went out of his way to make it clear that Dumars made the decision to hire since-fired coach Maurice Cheeks.
This is yet another relevant clue, because Jackson's initial job description when this news broke in May was, as the headline read on the Pistons' official website, "to advise on coach search." Fast forward 10 months, and Dumars is now widely believed to be on his way out and Gores is almost-assuredly considering how much control he might give Jackson were they to take this partnership to the next level.
And just to take this Pistons theory yet another step forward here, feel free to connect these dots from the interview as well: when asked a universal question about which coach is currently unemployed that shouldn't be, he answered with … Larry Brown. Never mind the fact that the former Pistons coach who led Detroit to the title in 2004 is currently employed at Southern Methodist, this is the name Jackson chose. And by the way, Jackson would later go on to wax poetic about how the media is too tough on owners who decide to hire so-called retread coaches, as well as why teachers like himself and Brown are so effective (For those who wondered, I didn't mention Brown's short tenure as Knicks coach because that possibility seems implausible given the nature of his exit and his dynamic with owner James Dolan).
FULL ARTICLE inside link.