Is Phil Jackson's Flirtation with Brooklyn Nets a Public Jab at LA Lakers?
Jackson was, of course, the leading candidate to take over the job with the Lakers after Mike Brown was fired, but it seems like some shady dealings and a bit of interference from Jerry Buss led to Mike D'Antoni getting the job in the 11th hour.
In the end, it might have been the best option for the Lakers, who are finally starting to come together and look like a real team, not just a collection of high-paid basketball players.
After the deal was done, Jackson voiced that he was upset with the way that he was informed that he didn't get the job before (I can only assume) sauntering back to Montana and meditating for the past month.
Jackson wanted a lot from the Lakers, and the fact that they resisted his desire to coach the team while not accompanying them on long road trips to the East Coast seems to be a lot to ask of a team pursuing a championship.
Now, it kind of seems like Jackson's intrigue in the Nets job might just be a nose-thumbing, middle-finger-flashing, "bite me" to the Lakers, and Jim Buss more specifically.
Taking a look at the Nets lineup and how the team would play under Jackson makes it seem like just that, at least on the surface.
With Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, Jackson would have two very integral parts to running the triangle offense with the lineup that they have, but it still doesn't make sense with Deron Williams on board.
Jackson has never featured point guards prominently, not because he never had a skilled point guard to work with, but because that just wasn't the way he thought best to run an offense.
The desire to coach the Nets wouldn't be out of superstar material, as Jackson is usually enticed by, but because of some ulterior motive.
However, once we dig deeper into the issue, it seems like Jackson might actually want to be a part of this Nets organization.
Sticking to the topic of point guards, it's true that Jackson has never featured a point guard prominently in his offenses, but that doesn't mean that he's not intrigued by them.
Going to Los Angeles to coach the Lakers would have meant implementing Steve Nash in the offense in a big way. If he was intrigued by that situation, it makes sense to conclude that he may be interested in Williams as well.
Even further, Jackson has roots in the region. Although he played for the New York Knicks for the majority of his career, he did spend his final two seasons with the New Jersey Nets. There is at least a small connection to the franchise, along with the city itself.
The biggest piece of evidence that Jackson actually wants to coach the Nets, rather than bite his thumb at the Lakers, is in a previous comment about Mikhail Prokhorov, Brooklyn's billionaire owner.
Back in 2010, when the Nets were on a coaching search that landed them Avery Johnson, Jackson's name came up.
Phil ended up telling reporters that he wouldn't want to coach anywhere besides Los Angeles, but he made some interesting comments about Prokhorov:
I’d like to have a vodka with him at some point. He seems like a very interesting young man.
There's not much to that comment, and it seems to be little more than a guy intrigued by another guy, but there is easily a reason to believe that Jackson is interested in Brooklyn from that comment alone.
There might be just a few pieces of evidence to go on, but there's definitely more to Jackson's intrigue with Brooklyn than just sticking it to the Lakers.
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