Former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers head coach, Phil Jackson, recently backed out of an opportunity in the Orlando Magic’s front office Thursday night. The 11-time NBA Champion head coach appears to have an interest in returning to basketball since retiring after last season’s playoff loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round.
Jackson, 66, would’ve taken over as general manager – formally Otis Smith’s position – and head of the Orlando Magic, as part of a package with a “former All-Star” as head coach.
Despite Jackson’s interest in coming back to the NBA for a front office job instead of the laborious grind a head coach must embark, Jackson bowed out for another opportunity according to Sam Vincent, a former guard in Chicago when Jackson was an assistant and is the intermediary between Jackson and Magic CEO Alex Martins.
“It drew some interest from Phil,” Vicent told the Orlando Sentinel. “But in the end, Phil decided to go with another opportunity.”
What that opportunity may be is still unknown to the general public. A return to Chicago for Jackson would be a wonderful surprise, but like Dwight Howard, the two don’t seem to embrace the cold as well as others. Yet – and I’m not a geography professor – last I checked, Brooklyn isn’t too pleasant in the winter either.
Magic fans have to love this move. Orlando is serious about keeping Howard long-term and by bringing in Jackson to talk about a front office position they showed how committed they are. If anyone in the world can handle egos, it’s Jackson. The guy did get six championships with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in Chicago and three with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and two more with Bryant and Pau Gasol in Los Angeles.
Jackson is probably the only coach in the world who can get Howard to stop thinking about himself and play at his highest potential. Also, if Jackson were to have signed with the Magic, Orlando would’ve quickly become the hotspot for free agents, which would finally turn Orlando from being pretenders into contenders.
In addition, the paper mentioned the possibility of Pippen being interviewed for the open coaching vacancy with the departure of Stan Van Gundy. Pippen is currently an ambassador for the Bulls.
With the Lakers exit from the postseason this year and Gasol’s poor performance it is clear that Lakers’ management will shop Gasol this offseason. Again, the rumors have swirled that the big man will come to Chicago as we wave goodbye to Carlos Boozer. Not going to happen, Bulls fans, as the rumors Gasol wants to be traded to Chicago aren’t true.
“My position is still the same,” Gasol told The Times. “I still would love to be a part of the Lakers and continue to be here to help the team win more championships as soon as possible. It’s out of my control and it’s out of my hands, no matter what.
“I don’t know where that came from. It’s pointless to really worry about it. I’m totally cool with it, whatever they say. The stories will appear and then disappear on something that does or doesn’t happen again. It sucks to be in that position, but it is what it is.”
This trade is unrealistic for a number of reasons. For starters, the Lakers are not going to take on Boozer’s $47-million remaining to get rid of Gasol who doesn’t get along with Bryant. Second, if a team is that desperate to trade a guy, no one is going to remotely take a second look because that usually means something is wrong with that individual player. Third, if a team is going to take Boozer, the Bulls will more than likely have to toss in Luol Deng in the mix and no team wants to deal with his wrist surgery heading into the season after he competes in the Olympics. Also, everyone around the world knows how much Bulls fans want Boozer gone and why would anyone sign Boozer and bring that same negative fan energy to every home game? You’d have to be a GM like Michael Jordan or Otis Smith.
Aside from Gasol’s age, 32, he is not the answer for a title to Chicago—more or less because Chicago won’t even be in contention next year. Boozer also doesn’t fit the picture of a champion Bulls squad, so there’s always next year’s offseason to write off Boozer.
Chicago needs to start rebuilding around Derrick Rose again as what has happened the previous two years – back-to-back best regular season record – isn’t working and the Bulls are no closer to being champion contenders than they were before the Tom Thibodeau era. Sign a veteran point-guard, sign new role players and make some noise in the 2013 draft.
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