Close your eyes and picture Phil Jackson. The massive (6-foot-8) figure of NBA coaching fame, most famous for winning a staggering 11 championships (6 with Chicago, 5 with LA) and one of the best of all-time.
Now, picture him as the president… of the Toronto Raptors.
There has been buzz around the NBA that Toronto could be in play for Jackson’s services, but ESPN is now reporting that the always-fun “sources close to the situation” believe that Jackson has a legitimately possibility of heading to Toronto as their team president. After the news that the Sacramento Kings are staying put (and not heading to Seattle), Toronto reportedly believes that there “biggest competition” is out of the running for Jackson, and that he may seriously fathom taking the position.
Personally, I don’t understand this from a “Phil” standpoint. He has been notoriously stingy about the jobs he has taken (i.e. with Michael, Kobe, and Shaq around) and Toronto is in a full rebuilding mode. In addition, the Lakers ownership situation is a bit of a mess and there is a real-life possibility that the LA coaching job will be coming open in the offseason. Throw in that his significant other (Jeannie Buss) is a part-owner of the Lakers, and connect the dots as you must.
With all of that said, Toronto is a massive market, and if Jackson wants a brand-new challenge, this would certainly be it. He was quoted as saying that three or four teams had interest and that “none of them included coaching”, so it is possible that Phil is ready to try his hand at being an executive.
It would be very, very unusual to see him twiddling his thumbs in a press box, but far be it for me to doubt the man who has 11 titles, and if he decides that Toronto is the place for him, my gut tells me that he’ll be a tremendous front-office presence.