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Phil Jackson's Presence Would Instantly Make Toronto Raptors Credible

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Phil Jackson's Presence Would Instantly Make Toronto Raptors Credible
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Tim Leiweke, the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, wants Phil Jackson to be team president of the Toronto Raptors, per Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The former Los Angeles-based sports mogul is apparently aggressively pursuing Jackson for the post, and why wouldn't he?

Beyond the L.A. connection, Jackson's reputation as a winner and leader is legendary. Wherever the Zen Master goes, respect follows him. As a result, if Jackson is named team president, it will completely change the way the franchise is viewed in the NBA.

With 13 championship rings (11 as a coach and two as a player) Jackson is one of the most successful human beings in the history of team sports.

With that track record, players, coaches and fans pay more attention to anything he is involved with. The Raptors are viewed by many as a fairly bad organization. It is safe to say National Post Writer Bruce Arthur is in that number.

The Raptors have struggled to lure and retain top-notch free agents over the years. They watched Vince Carter leave via trade after becoming unhappy with the team, while Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh left via free agency.

Having a famous and respected figurehead would help improve the image of the team. Per Stein and Shelburne, it is believed Jackson craves a role similar to the one old rival Pat Riley holds with the Miami Heat.

It seems the two have been competing forever. NBA Legion tweeted this awesome pic.

Riley was the head coach and general manager of the Heat before walking away from the sidelines at the beginning of the 2003-04 season.

He returned to the sidelines and helped lead the team to the championship in 2006. He headed back to the front office exclusively in 2008 and engineered the amalgamation of the Big 3 (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh).

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The Heat won the NBA title last season and are the odds-on favorites to repeat. The Raptors will be hoping to find similar success if they lure Jackson.

There are still tax issues that will impede the Raptors, though. Per the Canada Revenue Agency, employees who make more than $135,054 per year will pay 29 percent of their income to the Canadian government.

That pretty much affects every NBA player.

It will take a grand salesman to overcome that financial factor. However, no salesman is more effective than one who comes through the door with credibility. No one represents success in the NBA like Jackson.

If players and coaches are interested in winning, Jackson will be speaking their language. If he were to accept the Raptors' overtures, the first step would be finding a coach.

Jackson has tremendous respect amongst the head coaching fraternity. Most coaches would likely be thrilled to work for him. Former assistants such as Brian Shaw could possibly get their first opportunity north of the border if Jackson was in charge.

Shaw is drawing interest from the Philadelphia 76ers, but it stands to reason he would at least listen if Jackson called him about the head coaching job in Toronto.

In a sense, that is the bottom line here. When Jackson speaks, most people in the game will be willing to listen.

That's likely more influence than any other front office or coach has had with organization since its inception in 1995.

The Raptors need to establish a winning culture. In any organization, that has to start at the top. Jackson would be the perfect man to usher in a winning attitude.

 

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