Phil Jackson Agrees to Serve as Advisor to Pistons During Coaching Search

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2013

Phil Jackson is finally making his return to the NBA after a two-year retirement—just not quite in the way most hoped or expected.

According to a report from's Keith Langlois, the legendary head coach will be taking an advisory role with the Detroit Pistons in their coaching search.

The announcement was confirmed in a statement released by Pistons owner Tom Gores on Thursday. 

“Phil Jackson is a friend and one of the best minds in the business,” Gores said. “We are thrilled to have him as an adviser as we make some very important decisions for this franchise. Joe (Dumars) and I discussed this and he and I are in full agreement that this is a great opportunity.”

The appeal of hiring Jackson is obvious. An 11-time NBA champion in 20 seasons as a head coach with the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls, Jackson has the credibility a flailing organization like the Pistons desperately needs. 

Detroit fired coach Lawrence Frank in April after a 29-53 season, his second with the team. The 42-year-old Frank went just 54-94 in his tenure and failed to reach the playoffs in both campaigns. 

The team stressed that Jackson's advisory role is a temporary position, meaning it will likely end whenever the next coach is chosen.

However, Jackson's acceptance of the position gives credence to recent speculation that he's looking to return to the NBA in some capacity. ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne reported in April that Jackson was "itching" for a return, though it was unclear what exact role he was looking for. 

According to ESPN, he was contacted by the Cleveland Cavaliers for their coaching position, but he was not interested, and the team hired Mike Brown.

Said to be more intrigued by making his first foray into the front office, the Toronto Raptors' president position has also been linked to Jackson. His interest (or lack thereof) in Toronto's overtures is unknown at this time, and it's unclear whether this position with the Pistons will hinder the Raptors' desire.

No matter the result, the much-anticipated return of the Zen Master is finally happening. Whether this gig leads to a more permanent position or is merely a favor for a friend remains to be seen.