Buried at the bottom of a seemingly random notes column penned by the respected NBA columnist that covers a team that isn't making the playoffs this year is a note about the NBA's most famous potential coach possibly joining the team in the league's biggest market. Something to dismiss? That's your call, but after working your way through the Racine Journal-Times Gary Woelfel's tidbits about Milwaukee Bucks guard Beno Udrih contract option and Carlos Delfino's groin injury, you get to read this bit about former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson possibly returning to the team that drafted him in 1966:
If the New York Knicks don't advance beyond the first round of the playoffs, I'm hearing they'll make a major — repeat, major — push to lure legendary coach Phil Jackson out of retirement.
With money being no object, the scuttlebutt is the Knicks brass may offer the "Zen Master" a four-year, $50 million deal.
That's major money for a coach with 11 NBA championships as led from the sideline, not including two rings won as a player in New York. The problems behind this report, though, are myriad.
Not because of the source, Woelfel hasn't been one to make things up in my time following his work. But there's a difference between "hearing" how the Knicks "may offer" Jackson a deal, and the Knicks actually following through on such a maneuver. Much less Jackson actually taking the deal.
Jackson has been in this situation before, rumored to be heading to New York both in 1999 and 2005. Both times he chose to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, and both times he was correct in doing so. Further complicating things is Jackson's love for all things Western-y — he splits time between California and Montana, he's still dating Jeanie Buss (daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss), and though the Knicks just committed to the well-respected Glen Grunwald as GM, even over $12 million a year might not be enough for Jackson to overcome what is probably a pretty strong distaste for New York owner James Dolan.