Avery Johnson was fired by the Brooklyn Nets early Thursday, creating a vacuum in a major media market. P.J. Carlesimo has been named interim coach, but he's best known as the guy who got attacked by Latrell Sprewell, and the guy who played Kevin Durant at shooting guard. In kinder words, he's a stopgap measure.
Phil Jackson's agent has already told NBA.com's David Aldridge that he's not into this whole Nets idea:
Phil Jackson's longtime representative, Todd Musburger, tells me via text that Jackson "has no interest in the Nets' job at this time."
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) December 27, 2012
The Nets aren't one to take "no" for an answer, per ESPN's reporting:
Going online now from @chris_broussard & I: Unmoved by Phil Jackson's reported reluctance, Nets make PJ top target to replace Avery Johnson— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 28, 2012
Be that as it may, we can speculate away. Will Phil Jackson might come to New York for the right figure?
Jonathan Wasserman: Phil Jackson makes sense for the Brooklyn Nets, but the Brooklyn Nets don't make sense for Phil Jackson.
Let's be honest. This isn't a championship-caliber roster, which means it's not a Phil Jackson roster.
Phil Jackson might have the greatest coaching track record of all time, but he was given the tools necessary to get the job done in the past. Most of the tools he'd have to work with in Brooklyn are either dull or unreliable.
To think Jackson would want to come out of retirement to use Deron Williams as his centerpiece and surround him with Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez sounds laughable when you consider the rosters that he's coached in the past.
It's hard to say whether or not the triangle offense would work here. Regardless, I bet it works a lot better with Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan than it does with any of the Nets' players.
The competition is just too steep right now. Even if Jackson got the very most out of Brooklyn's potential, it still probably won't be enough to knock off either the Bulls, Knicks or Celtics in a seven-game series, followed by another seven-game series with Miami.
At this point in his career, what's it worth to Phil Jackson to come back and take a team to the second round of the playoffs?
After the Lakers passed on Jackson for Mike D'Antoni, I'm sure there's some part of Jackson that wants to come back and excel with another team. But if he was getting frustrated a few years ago in L.A., then what's he going to do when Brook Lopez can't grab a defensive rebound and Joe Johnson misses a long two-pointer for the third time in the quarter?
The idea makes sense when you consider Brooklyn's new brand and arena. But not when you put pen to paper. It's the middle of the year, the roster is vulnerable, the team was just recently constructed and there is little cap flexibility.
Brooklyn will need time, and probably some better pieces down the road. If Phil Jackson is willing to be patient and institute a three-year plan, then maybe this is the place to be. I'd love to see him take the challenge, since we've only seen him coach mostly all-world rosters. But this hurdle might be too high for Jackson at age 67.
Ethan Sherwood Strauss: Yep, Phil Jackson doesn't roll with also-rans. While the Nets might be interested in Phil, I'm not sure Phil's interested in them. I agree with everything you're saying about the Nets roster (dull tools, unreliable tools, and straight-up tools like Kris Humphries).
I do, however, see how this Jackson-to-Brooklyn scenario could possibly come to fruition. The chance I envision for a Jackson-Nets partnership would be if the monetary compensation was just too much for Jackson to refuse. Remember, he does those awful Gatorade commercials that trade on Michael Jordan's "flu game." Jackson is one to sell out when the price is right.
Mikhail Prokhorov is one to spend lavishly, and he's often heedless as to whether a price is right or wrong. If he offers Phil Jackson $20 million per year and a Russian nickel mine, I would not be shocked.
I also believe that such a scenario would end badly. Phil Jackson has never been one to coach point guards, and Brooklyn's main issue is that Deron Williams is going through a career tailspin. Outside of Deron, the roster is stacked with overrated names, guys whose best years are behind them.
You can win a playoff round with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace. Anything beyond that, and you're asking too much. And if Phil Jackson takes on this doomed roster, the result would likely make me more uncomfortable than my 100th viewing of his stilted Michael Jordan Gatorade advertisement. Speaking of MJ, Brooklyn would make for Phil's version of "Michael Jordan on the Washington Wizards."
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