After winning two championships as a player with the New York Knicks, then six more rings coaching the Chicago Bulls and another five with the Los Angeles Lakers, would Phil Jackson be willing to head to the far smaller, far-less-put-together Cleveland Cavaliers?
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is hoping so. According to ESPN, Cleveland has reached out to the Zen Master, in the hopes that the 13-time world champion will replace the ousted Byron Scott.
As they did eight years ago when he was in retirement, the Cleveland Cavaliers have reached out to Phil Jackson about their head coach opening, sources told ESPN.com.
Jackson is currently considering potential options, sources said. There’s a belief in coaching circles that the Brooklyn Nets and possibly the Sacramento Kings — if they relocate to Seattle — will be teams that appeal to Jackson more than the Cavs.
Here’s a major reason why it could work: Following the 2013-14 season, LeBron James once again becomes a free agent. Don’t think for one second that Cavs fans would not welcome Bron Bron back to his home state with open arms. Jackson has never taken on a rebuilding project. He has moved into situations where the pieces are already in place and helped facilitate and bring those pieces together to build a title-winning puzzle.
James has not guaranteed that he will re-sign with Miami. If Jackson takes over in Cleveland, he may be doing so under the assumption that James would be resigning with the team that drafted.
Now, why it couldn’t work, or why Jackson would never sign with Cleveland: First, of course, the chances of LeBron actually resigning with the Cavs are slim, to say the least.
As the roster stands, point guard Kyrie Irving is a budding superstar, but he is fragile. Beyond him, the team has virtually zero low-post presence and very little on the wings outside of Tristan Thompson. Jackson signs with potential winners and makes them great. Without LeBron, how would Phil’s team perform?
Would Jackson choose to go to a place where his legacy could be damaged as the number of losses piled up?
Then again, if the Cavs did win under Jackson, it would prove once and for all that Jackson is the greatest basketball coach of all time.
Cementing that type of legacy could potentially be very appealing.