Report: Phil Jackson to accept Knicks' offer
MAR 12, 2014 2:39a ET
Phil Jackson is ready to enter the next stage of his NBA career, and to do that, he will apparently return to where it all began.
Jackson and the New York Knicks have reached an agreement in principle that will put Jackson in charge of the team's basketball operations, a league source told the New York Post late Tuesday night.
A deal will end several months of speculation, some of which was fueled by Jackson, on how and when the man who won 11 championships as a coach will return to the game.
Jackson was drafted by the Knicks in 1967 and was a member of the 1972-73 team that won the title. He later coached the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls to six championships, before winning five more as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers between 2000 and 2010. He retired from coaching after the 2010-11 season.
Jackson, 68, told FOX Sports Live in January he did not want to coach again -- but that he may seek a front-office role where he could shape the roster and call the shots.
"I've done my coaching, and I think I've put that aside," Jackson said in an exclusive interview with FOX Sports Live. "I don't think that you have to coach. I think that your influence can be beyond coaching."
According to the Post, Jackson gave the Knicks a verbal commitment Saturday and the agreement is expected to become official by the end of the week. The word "president" will be in Jackson's title with the Knicks, a source told the Post.
Neither Knicks owner James Dolan nor current president/general manager Steve Mills could be reached for comment. Mills, who recruited Jackson, is expected to remain with the organization in a revised role, according to the Post.
The Knicks have won four straight entering Wednesday night. They sit three-and-a-half games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot with a month left in the regular season. The Knicks play at the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson has shied away from discussing reports involving Jackson, as has star forward Carmelo Anthony.
"I don't even know what's going on with that," Anthony said after Saturday's win at Cleveland. "Nobody came to me with that."
Anthony has stated he will opt out of the final year of his contract at the end of the season and test free agency in July. League sources have indicated Anthony may not be entirely on board with the hiring of Jackson -- as Jackson has been critical of Anthony's game in the past.
Two years ago during a spot on HBO's "Real Sports," Jackson defined the Knicks' roster as "clumsy," saying the Knicks didn't "fit together well." Jackson specifically pointed to center/forward Amar'e Stoudemire, saying Stoudemire "doesn't fill well with Carmelo."
Jackson added that "the ball can't stop every time it hits (Anthony's) hands."
If Jackson indeed accepts the Knicks' offer, there has been speculation Woodson could be replaced as coach. Former Phoenix Suns coach and executive and current NBA analyst Steve Kerr is a name that's been making the rounds as a possible Jackson favorite.
Former Knicks coach Larry Brown, now the coach at SMU, told Mad Dog Sports Radio on Tuesday he thinks Jackson should retain Woodson.
"I would tell him take the job and keep Mike Woodson as your coach," Brown said. "There's a great coach. The players love him."
Jackson compiled a 1,640-1,155 record in 20 seasons for a .704 winning percentage. His teams went 229-104 in the playoffs. The Knicks' position would be his first as an executive.