The Cleveland Cavaliers have a head coaching vacancy to fill and the desire to contend in 2013-14, which makes their reported run at the legendary Phil Jackson one of the boldest and smartest moves on the board.
According to Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein of ESPN, the organization recently reached out to Jackson, as owner Dan Gilbert is conducting a search for the next coach of the team.
After going 24-58 this past season and relieving coach Byron Scott of his duties after three years at the helm of the franchise, its clear that the Cavs are serious about becoming competitors for the first time in the post-LeBron James era.
However, without a competent, experienced coach calling the plays and running the show, it’s going to be tough for this young team to make that leap.
With a roster that includes bona fide superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, blossoming swingman Dion Waiters and a lottery pick in the 2013 draft, Cleveland is right on the cusp of becoming a playoff team in the Eastern Conference.
If the organization can acquire Jackson’s services, it would undoubtedly take a giant step forward and likely forge its way into the playoffs. However, the 11-time NBA Finals-winning coach is not going to come cheaply.
Remember, the Zen Master had interest in the Los Angeles Lakers gig when Mike Brown was fired at the beginning of this current season, but was passed over for Mike D’Antoni. It was reported Jackson was seeking an ownership stake, massive contract and other considerations in return for his talents.
It would be wise of the Cavs brass to keep those demands in mind when preparing to negotiate with the 67-year-old, as they may need to meet many of them in order to convince him to return to the sidelines.
As per Windhorst and Stein, there could be stiff competition from the Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings (if they move to Seattle), organizations that may even consider bringing aboard Jackson in a Pat Riley-like consultation role.
Cleveland may not be as ideal a locale as Brooklyn or Seattle, so making a “Godfather” offer that Jackson can’t refuse is the best chance for the Cavs to return to relevancy.
Even if it means giving the Zen Master a slice of ownership and letting his assistants coach some road games, the team would be better for it and ready to contend in 2013-14.