Phil Jackson will NOT be back as a coach this season. He said so himself Tuesday.
“I have no intention of ever coaching again,” Jackson told SheridanHoops.com in a brief statement.
He offered no elaboration, nor any details of how hard — if at all — the Brooklyn Nets had pushed to bring him in as the permanent replacement for Avery Johnson, who was fired last month.
But he also did not use the word “retired,” and his use of the word “intention” will be seen by many as a hedge. Moreover, the quote was similar to what Jackson said when he left the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011.
Jackson was the one and only long-term coaching target of the Nets, who are now expected to keep P.J. Carlesimo in the job for the remainder of the regular season. The team is 6-1 since Carlesimo took over, losing only to the San Antonio Spurs.
So while Jackson’s “intention” is to never coach again, he could always change his mind at the conclusion of this season. For now, things should remain peaceful around the Zen Master for the remainder of winter and spring.
Jackson comment to SheridanHoops was his first public statement of the season, and the hedge therein will undoubtedly lead others to contact him in the future. The scuttlebutt around the league Tuesday was that Jackson was in demand and another team — other than Brooklyn, and other than the Lakers — had recently inquired about Jackson’s availability.
Jackson’s statement also did not address a future role in some other capacity with an NBA team.
That is where Brooklyn could come back into the picture if owner Mikhail Prokhorov was willing to offer him a top executive job for the franchise that relocated to New York City this season after 36 years in New Jersey.