Rosen: Total control in Seattle may be appealing to Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson has been considered for the in-season vacancies with both the Lakers and the Nets. Both teams opted for an alternative to the most successful coach in NBA history.

There were reasons why Jackson did not return to coaching, including this possibility: Could it be that Jackson wants to change his game plan and build a championship team from scratch?

Let’s assume that the NBA’s bigwigs approve the relocation of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. Also that, according to a semi-reliable source, Phil Jackson will indeed sign on to supervise the entire basketball operations of the resurrected Seattle SuperSonics.

Given these presumptions, several questions present themselves, questions that Jackson will not address unless or until this parley of events comes to pass. However, without consulting PJ, here are my personal takes on the hows and whys of the situation.

Why is he returning to the NBA wars in the first place?

Because Jackson always has had a sharp and combative competitive edge. Yes, he’s done his share of traveling – including a motorcycle tour of New Zealand and Australia – but there are no winners and losers in the travel game.

He’s also made numerous (and lucrative) presentations to high-powered CEOs about teamwork and such. But most of these audiences just wanted the chance to be in his company and schmooze with him before and after his speeches. They would have been satisfied if he had read the New York City phone book.

Because Jackson understands and appreciates the fact that his ability to assemble and motivate ballclubs is his major God-given talent, one that must be exercised as long as possible. 

Because, in the end, PJ simply has a basketball Jones.

Why not return to coaching?

Because he has two artificial hips, one mechanical knee, a stent in his heart and has dealt with a kidney stone. All of which makes it impossible for him to be the kind of hands-on coach that he needs to be.

Since there certainly have been several other opportunities to be the Pat Riley of other franchises, why Seattle?

Because the city and its environs are incredibly beautiful. Because, after his stints in New York and Chicago, he has had his fill of living in cold-weather climates. (He only dwells in snow-bound Montana during the summers.) And perhaps because the perspective new owners will give him free rein and maybe even a piece of the action. Also, he might relish the idea of competing with – and eventually surpassing – the Lakers in the Pacific Division.

Not to forget that his fiancée, Jeanie Buss, would only be a short flight away.

Whom might he hire to coach the team?

Bet your bottom dollar that Brian Shaw would be the coach. Add some other familiar suits to the bench – Jim Cleamons, Frank Hamblen and – depending on his current employment – Kurt Rambis. Also expect Ronnie Lester to serve as general manager.

But since Jackson has always specialized in prompting championship wanna-bes to actually winning NBA titles, what possibilities does the sad-sack Sacramento roster offer? And which players are keepers and which are losers?

As currently constituted, the Kings aren’t even a playoff team. Here’s a rundown of the core personnel:


  1. Ted says

    I think when a guy hasn’t written an article for your lame website in two months, you can’t call him an active columnist anymore.

  2. Alvin says

    Charley, if you don’t think Jimmer Fredette can be at least the equivalent of Steve Kerr or John Paxson, you need to get out more!

    • Ugh says

      It was pretty harsh, wasn’t it?
      Mind you, Paxson, at least, was a pretty tough dude, mentally and physically, and not afraid. Kerr knew his role perfectly. I would rate both of them over Fridette, but I don’t know he couldn’t get there one day.

  3. Brandon Clay says

    It is highly unlikely Clay Bennett will let Seattle use the name Supersonics, with out recouping the money that was stolen from him when he took his team to OKC. Seattle never was able to meet the conditions in the contract to obtain use of his properties. (Paragraph six of the contract)

    • Dan says

      If that wasnt so insulting it would almost be funny! Seattle owes ZERO to Bennett. If anything he owes Seattle! The Sonics name and colors will be back, that was part of the deal. Clay can kiss my ass!

  4. jerry25 says

    Perhaps you would agree, the situation with Phil Jackson and coaching (Brooklyn for example) is virtually identical to the situation of Hillary Clinton running for President in 2016.

    Hillary has said she doesn’t want to run, (and doesn’t want the suffering). She is old like Jackson. Young people don’t have a clue (nor really care) what they would have to go through to coach/run for President.

    However, the public keeps insisting that Jackson really would want to coach a winning team like Brooklyn, rather than be an Executive and start everything His own way, and take it easy.

    Neither Hillary nor Jackson would say 100% that they would rule it out, because they don’t mind the attention it brings for the Masses to have some hope.

  5. Chris says

    As a Sonics fan, it sounds great, but maybe too good to be true. Especially the theory that he wants to come to Seattle for the warmer winters. While not as bad as NY and Chicago, Seattle has wet, miserable winters and less sun than any other city in the continental U.S. Phil may be happier if another deep pocket buys the Kings and keeps them in sunny California.


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