After much anticipation and expectations, Steve Kerr eventually did not sign up with the Knicks, and chose the Golden State Warriors instead. At the same time, the NY Knicks reportedly are interested in some other former Bulls’ players. Like Scottie Pippen.
Knicks GM Steve Mills spoke with Pippen on May 15, to gauge the legendary Bull’s interest in potentially working for the organization in some capacity, possibly as an assistant coach, according to an NBA source.
Knicks president Phil Jackson, stung by the Steve Kerr rejection, would have interest in Pippen in some capacity, depending on who is hired as head coach. Pippen, a student of the triangle offense, has the title of adviser with the Bulls.
When asked by about potentially working with Jackson, Pippen told the NY Post, “I haven’t talked to Phil. I have to wait until that time comes. Right now nothing’s out there. I’m not going to say whether I’m interested or not until it happens.’’
At the same time, Phil Jackson, according to an NBA source, is OK hiring a head coach who doesn’t specialize in the triangle.
According to the source, that means Mark Jackson is on Jackson’s tentative list that once included just one name. But now Steve Kerr is headed to Golden State and Jackson is headed on a more expansive search.
The Knicks believe Jackson’s “credibility’’ around the league will enable him to have the “flexibility” to hire an experienced coach willing to adapt to the principles of his triangle offense — or at least a facsimile.
Hiring Mark Jackson, the former St. John’s star and Brooklyn native, would be the splashy move for Phil Jackson to save face after Kerr left him at the altar. In a delightful twist, Mark Jackson was fired by Golden State last week to set in motion the Warriors stealing Kerr. Mark Jackson, despite leading the Warriors to their first 50-win season in 20 years, was reportedly fired due to his my-way-or-the-highway approach.
However, under Phil Jackson, that certainly wouldn’t be his mindset, considering the Jacksons between them have 13 rings — all Phil’s.
Jackson was runner-up to Mike D’Antoni in the Knicks’ last full-fledged coaching search and has privately yearned to coach at the Garden.
According to two sources, Phil Jackson is not yet thinking of going back to the bench after the Kerr rejection. His health issues are legitimate despite fiancée Jeanie Buss recently urging Jax to go back to the bench. Not only does Jackson need a second knee replacement surgery eventually, but he’s dealt with prostate cancer and still takes medication for a heart ailment.
Jackson also likely will interview his former assistants, Kurt Rambis and Jim Cleamons, but needs to ask permission from the Lakers and Bucks, respectively. Both are triangle gurus.
A source also said Jackson thinks highly of Pacers assistant Nate McMillan, who is still coaching in the playoffs.Follow @exnbadotcom
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