More than a few New York Knicks fans might relish the notion of Phil Jackson taking the bench all for himself. He's had a pretty successful run at it in the past and would no doubt be instrumental in turning the team around after a disappointing 37-45 season.
Don't get your hopes up, though.
According to ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley, Jackson just doesn't feel like he'd be up to it, saying on Friday, "I’m going to be interested in coaching. It’s whether I can do it or not. ... At this point, I don’t see -- unless the Lord heals me in the next week or two -- I wouldn’t see myself being physically prepared to take on the grind of coaching a basketball team right now."
Back in March, ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne wrote, "The former Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls coach has spent the last couple of years working to improve his health -- which included several surgeries and a successful fight against prostate cancer -- and writing a book."
That health appears to be improved enough to take an active role in rebuilding an organization in dire need of a facelift. But a coaching gig is a different story altogether thanks to the toll taken by travel and ongoing practices.
Jackson won 11 NBA titles as a head coach, all with the Bulls and Lakers. He's widely considered one of the best ever, but he hasn't coached since 2011. For a minute there, it looked like he might return to the Lakers but was passed over for Mike D'Antoni in 2012.
There's always a chance Jackson could return to coaching at some point. He's 68 years old, but the real factor will remain health rather than age alone. And given that he's looking for New York's coach of the future at the moment, it's hard to see how he'd take the reins unless Plan A blows up in his face.
It's been well documented that Jackson had hoped to bring in Steve Kerr as the Knicks' next head coach, but Kerr is taking his talents to the Golden State Warriors instead. Subsequently, a number of names have been linked to the open position, including Derek Fisher and former Warriors coach Mark Jackson.
The Knicks appear to be taking their time and conducting a deliberate search. That search comes at an especially pivotal time with Carmelo Anthony set to potentially opt out of his contract and explore free agency this summer. Whoever replaces the exiled Mike Woodson will no doubt be responsible in part for helping Jackson attract talent to the team—including Anthony.
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