Is Phil Jackson Setting Himself Up for Another Public Embarrassment?

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterDecember 30, 2012

The Brooklyn Nets have lit the Phil Jackson bat signal.

I want to picture Phil pondering in a rocking chair, while smoking a pipe and playing his didgeridoo—deciding whether it's really worth it at 67 years old.

Jackson's resume as a coach is pretty baller. It says "11 rings" under the career achievements section. He's got nothing left to prove in the "what have you done" argument. It's that "what have you done for me lately" one that seems to irritate his nerves.

After getting swept in the playoffs his last year in Los Angeles and being passed over by the Lakers last month in favor of Mike D'Antoni, Jackson might be feeling the itch.

He's got nothing left to prove in terms of his overall body of work—those 11 rings obviously say enough. But depending on his desire, he could have plenty to prove to the Lakers front office and those who doubt that he's still got it.

The argument isn't whether we think Jackson should be inclined to make the Lakers look foolish or feel the need to prove the doubters wrong—it's whether or not he'd be setting himself up for failure by accepting the Brooklyn Nets coaching job.

Again, he's 67 years old. The highlight of the day for most people that age is watching Antiques Roadshow at eight o'clock before bed. At some point you'd think the physical and mental wear and tear of pro sports would get overwhelming.

It was reported by ESPN's Chris Broussard that when Jackson met with the Lakers to discuss the opening following Mike Brown's departure, Jackson had requested travel restrictions that would allow him to miss a certain number of road games.

You know how you know when your time is up as a coach? When you're asking management for travel restrictions so you can miss a certain number of road games.

Plus, it makes sense to think that Jackson should only consider returning to a roster capable of winning a championship. I don't think the highest degree of spiritual cleansing would ease the anxiety caused by having to rely on Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez as integral parts of a "championship" nucleus.

Is Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson worth the headache or potential humiliation that would be caused if the Nets fail to make the playoffs or get bounced in the first round? This is a team that was just recently put together, has no proven leader and is overly reliant on Andray Blatche and Jerry Stackhouse for second-unit contributions.

Those guys just don't quite cut it when you're playing with championship aspirations. Have you seen how good some of the top teams are?

If Jackson takes this Brooklyn job to spite the Lakers and try to prove he's still a legitimate basketball wizard, he will be setting himself up for a chapter to regret. Michael Jordan didn't look good in that Washington blue and silver, and it's hard to picture Phil looking sharp in Brooklyn black and white.

Nothing can take away from what he's done with Chicago and L.A. That career achievement section will always headline the resume and stand out among his competitors.

But what result would make a return worth it? Certainly not the chance at reaching the second round of the playoffs.

Save yourself the embarrassment, Phil. It isn't worth it just to show Lakers management you've still got your touch. People who've questioned whether you can win without Michael and Kobe aren't worth it. And Joe Johnson certainly isn't worth it.

Keep rocking in your chair and practicing your yoga knowing you earned more rings than you have fingers to dress.



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