No, he’s not going to be the new head coach, but the Zen Master will be involved in the search for the next person to fill that role.
Jackson, a friend of Pistons owner Tom Gores, has agreed to advise Gores and team president Joe Dumars as they look for a replacement for Lawrence Frank, who was fired last month.
“Phil Jackson is a friend and one of the best minds in the business,” Gores told the team website. “We are thrilled to have him as an adviser as we make some very important decisions for this franchise.
“Joe and I discussed this, and he and I are in full agreement that this is a great opportunity.”
Jackson won 11 championships as a coach — six with Chicago and five with the Lakers — and engaged in several dramatic series against the Pistons. Like Dumars, he also won two rings as a player, helping the Knicks to championships in 1970 and 1973.
“Tom and I discussed using a consultant as part of our decision-making process in our search for a head coach, and we feel that Phil Jackson is a great resource to use,” Dumars said. “I look forward to talking with Phil next week.”
Jackson has been a rival of the Pistons going back to 1990, when the Bad Boys needed seven games to knock off Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals.
A year later, it was Chicago getting its revenge. The Bulls swept Detroit in the conference finals in a series that famously ended with Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer leading their teammates off the floor without shaking hands. Dumars stayed on the bench, though, and congratulated the Bulls, a decision that might help them work together 22 years later.
In 2004, Dumars was in the front office when Detroit stunned Jackson’s star-studded Lakers to win the franchise’s third NBA title. That defeat sent Jackson into a temporary retirement, although he returned to the Lakers after one season away.