Phil Jackson Not Yet Considering Coaching Knicks; Shaw, Fisher, Walton In The Mix?
Knicks President Phil Jackson is "not yet thinking of going back to the bench" after Steve Kerr accepted the Warriors coaching position instead of the Knicks, according to sources cited by Marc Berman of the N.Y. POST. Jackson's health issues are "legitimate despite fiancée Jeanie Buss recently urging" him to "go back to the bench." Not only does Jackson "need a second knee replacement surgery eventually, but he’s dealt with prostate cancer and still takes medication for a heart ailment" (N.Y. POST, 5/16). But Warriors Advisor Jerry West, who as Lakers GM worked with Jackson from '99-01, said, "I think his greatest value would be down there on the bench, to be honest with you, because he’s had so much success and this is going to be a particularly difficult challenge (for the front office)." West added, "He's going to have to change a lot of things about the way he (does things) because of his role" as Knicks President (N.Y. POST, 5/16). In N.Y., Scott Cacciola cites a source as saying that Jackson is "considering at least three candidates," including former NBAer Luke Walton, Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis and Nuggets coach Brian Shaw. Jackson "appears to want someone who will operate as an extension of himself." Someone "young and fairly compliant would not hurt, either." Jackson, "after all, is as much coach emeritus as team president." While there are "few people, if any, who have accomplished more in the game" than Jackson, the "events of this week are a worthwhile reminder that whoever takes the coaching job will be acutely aware of the person looking over his shoulder." That situation is "not for everyone" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/16).
JACKSON'S NEXT MOVE: In N.Y., Frank Isola reports Thunder G Derek Fisher, who played under Jackson while with the Lakers, is "emerging as a leading candidate" for the job (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/16). ESPN.com's Stein & Shelburne cited sources as saying that the "most likely scenario" remains the Knicks "hiring a younger coach Jackson has worked with previously and can mentor." Sources said that in addition to Walton and Fisher, former Lakers G Tyronn Lue will "receive consideration." Sources also said that Jackson will explore whether the Nuggets "are in any way amenable" to releasing Shaw. Meanwhile, there have been "no indications to this point that Jackson, after missing out on Kerr, will consider hiring an established coach, despite the loud clamor from Knicks fans" to pursue fired Warriors coach Mark Jackson. ESPN analyst and former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy is "another theoretical candidate who would excite Knicks fans." But a source said that Jackson "is not worried about selling New Yorkers on his eventual hire" (ESPN.com, 5/15). Meanwhile, the N.Y. POST's Berman cites a source as saying that Knicks GM Steve Mills on Thursday spoke with Basketball HOFer Scottie Pippen "for about 15 minutes" at the draft combine in Chicago to gauge his "interest in potentially working for the organization in some capacity, possibly as an assistant coach" (N.Y. POST, 5/16).