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Nets target Phil Jackson for coaching vacancy

POSTED: May 6, 2013 6:55 PM ET

By David Aldridge

BY David Aldridge

TNT Analyst


Hall-of-Famer Phil Jackson heads the wish list of the Brooklyn Nets, reports David Aldridge.

A day after firing interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo, the Brooklyn Nets did what almost everyone around the NBA expected they would do, contacting Phil Jackson and inquiring about his interest in coaching the team next season, according to a league source. The Nets will obviously wait to see if Jackson is at all willing to coach there before moving on to their list of other coaching candidates. There was no indication how long Jackson would take before responding to the inquiry.

The inquiry came as Jackson, according to published reports, was scheduled to arrive in Detroit to begin a consulting job with the Pistons to help with that team's search for its own new head coach. The Pistons fired Lawrence Frank after two seasons, and Jackson is helping team president Joe Dumars as a favor to Pistons majority owner Tom Gores.

The Nets fired Carlesimo after Brooklyn lost its first-round series the Bulls Saturday, dropping the seventh game at home after rallying from a 3-1 series deficit.

Jackson's longtime agent, Todd Musburger, said last summer that the 67-year-old Jackson was looking for a chance to run a team in an executive capacity, and was almost certain not to coach again. Jackson, Musburger said, would like to hire a head coach and play the same role with that coach as his longtime assistant, Tex Winter, played for him in Chicago and Los Angeles. Jackson would also like to be involved with picking the team's personnel, Musburger said. After the Nets fired coach Avery Johnson in December, Musburger said via text that Jackson had "no interest in the Nets' job at this time."

The Nets are not interested in hiring either Jeff or Stan Van Gundy for their head job, according to a source. Another league source believed that Jeff Van Gundy had strong interest in the Nets' job because owner Mikhail Prokhorov has shown he's more than willing to pay luxury tax penalties to build a roster.

Nets president Billy King told a local radio station Monday that the team is not wedded to the notion that it has to hire a marquee name as its next coach. But the Nets, according to the league source, believe strongly that the next coach must possess offensive creativity they believed Carlesimo--and his predecessor, Johnson--lacked. The Nets often bogged down into isolation sets for guard Joe Johnson, or threw the ball into center Brook Lopez without incorporating the other players on the court. King believes the triangle offense would be ideal for the team's personnel, according to the source.

Jackson won 11 titles with the Bulls and Lakers, compiling a regular season record of 1,155-485 over 20 seasons. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007. The Lakers reached out to Jackson last November after firing Mike Brown five games into their season, but the two sides could not reach agreement, with Jackson indicating he thought he had more time to make up his mind about whether he wanted to return to coaching. The Lakers hired Mike D'Antoni, but struggled with injuries and adjustments to D'Antoni's style all season, getting swept by the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.

Longtime NBA reporter and columnist David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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