NBA Rumor: Cavaliers reach out to retired Phil Jackson

More details continue to emerge this weekend on some possible coaching candidates for the Cleveland Cavs, and the ESPN.com NBA crew has an update tonight on Phil Jackson. Per the reporting of Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein:

“As they did eight years ago when he was in retirement, the Cleveland Cavaliers have reached out to Phil Jackson about their head coach opening, sources told ESPN.com. The Cavs, who fired coach Byron Scott last Thursday, have been in touch with Jackson to gauge his interest in returning to coaching and in their open position.”

Overall, the emphasis of tonight’s ESPN.com article seemed to be that Jackson would prefer to return to the NBA in a management role, a la Pat Riley with the Miami Heat. Jackson is now 67 years old and last coached in the summer of 2011. According to the article, “in January, Jackson told SheridanHoops.com that he had ‘no intention of ever coaching again.'”

Thus, it appears likely that the Cavs and owner Dan Gilbert are just feeling out the potential prospects of Jackson’s interest in coaching. While the Cleveland organization might be a relatively attractive situation for most typical coaching candidates, it is believed, per this report, that Jackson might be more interested in teams like the Brooklyn Nets or Sacramento Kings (soon-to-be Seattle, maybe) where he could be a lead voice in the front office.

Specifically, that would deal with working preferably in a “management capacity” and to possibly “oversee personnel moves and mentor a head coach,” per tonight’s report.

Previously in Cavs coaching news, Mike Brown reportedly met with Gilbert on Sunday. Stan Van Gundy also reportedly expressed his disinterest in the currently available openings. Several other candidates — such as Golden State assistant Michael Malone or Indiana assistant Brian Shaw — just began coaching in the playoffs with their current teams this weekend.

[Related: Mike Brown Take Two? In The Right Situation, Yes]

  • FearTheRoo

    I still think Mike Brown is most likely. Given that Phil Jackson is a longshot and 67 it’s tough to see how he fits into the rebuilding mentality of the front office. But hey the average tenure of a Cleveland coach is -3 years so who knows. I expect a “no thanks” from Phil.

  • mgbode

    the ‘big’ name is not always the ‘right’ name

  • pomp

    Mike Holmgrean anyone?

  • Pomp62


  • Yup

    Sorry but if he wanted to come in with Shaw as the coach, we would have to say “yes.” It’s Riley/Spolstrea all over again.

  • Harv 21

    Obviously, the management position he seeks is already taken here, not one he has ever done and one we have no reason to think he’d succeed in. That’s what a (ahem) desperate organization does.

    But even as a coach, this team needs an infusion of energy and commitment from its new coach, not a late-60s guy who’s tired from decades of the pressure cooker and travel, who wants to retire but just cannot get the NBA out of his system. They’re 10 years too late for Phil.

  • mgbode

    he’s not coming in here. he doesn’t have the personnel experience that Riley has had through is years. and, all this does is get people all excited we are going after these name coaches when we should be figuring out who the best coach is for our team.

    that coach might be Shaw. it might be Joerger. it might be Malone. but, I’d rather have them focus on those guys than the Izzo-circus we did last time.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    This kind of rumor doesn’t make me feel optimistic about the Cavaliers future. It does smack of the Browns desperation when they hired Mike Holmgren as president.

  • JK

    Secretary: Mr. Jackson, The Cleveland Cavaliers on line 1.

    Phil: Who?

    Secretary: The Cavs, Mr. Jackson.

    Phil: …

    Secretary: LeBron used to play there…

    Phil: What do they want?

    Secretary: It appears they have a coaching vacancy.

    Phil: Hang up the phone Lindsey, you’re fired.