The Brooklyn Nets are in the market for a new head coach, and they are reportedly pursuing 11-time NBA champion Phil Jackson as their top candidate.
The Brooklyn Nets are a mess, but Mikhail Prokhorov and members of the Nets' front office hope 11-time NBA champion head coach Phil Jackson will ride in on a white horse and clean things up for a team with expectations set even higher than the payroll. SB Nation's NetsDaily has been covering the developing story, and here's the short version: Jackson's agent told David Aldridge that his client has no interest in coaching the Nets "at this moment," but Chris Broussard and Mark Stein of ESPN say the Nets have still made Jackson their top candidate and that they the franchise would be willing to give P-Jax plenty of money and control in exchange for his services.
Ken Berger of CBS Sports says Jackson is still "intrigued" by the idea of coaching in Brooklyn, and to a certain degree that makes sense. Jackson spent the first 10 years of his NBA career as a player with Knicks, and then he played out his final two seasons with the Nets. Furthermore, Jackson has always pursued opportunities with teams that have rosters built to compete immediately, and the Nets are certainly not a rebuilding project.
However, they are still a mess. Brooklyn fired head coach Avery Johnson earlier this week in the wake of 10 losses in the last 13 games, and interim coach P.J. Carlesimo isn't the answer for a team that hoped to compete for a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference this season. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace are highly-paid veterans with solid reputations, but they are all suffering through some of their worst seasons as lead players in the NBA. Brook Lopez has turned into a key component for the team, which might say more about the failings of Williams, Johnson and Wallace than it does about any vast improvement made by Lopez.
Finally, the situation won't get much better if the Nets' Big Three don't get their act together soon. Brooklyn recently signed long-term deals with D-Will, Iso Joe and Crash, and that trio will be owed $56 million in the 2015-16 season alone.
Could Phil Jackson actually turn the Nets around and reshape them into a contender over the next few season? It feels like an impossible task, but Brooklyn fans are hoping Phil takes the bait and works his magic one more time.
Jackson owns a 1155-485 regular season record as an NBA head coach (.704 winning percentage), and a 229-104 post-season record (.688 winning percentage) punctuated by NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls in 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1997-98, and with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1999-00, 2000-01, 2001-02, 2008-09 and 2009-10.