Will Nets ownership make a run at Phil Jackson? Something to remember: Management's never believed the triangle offense fit this personnel.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 27, 2012
But that hasn't stopped the rumors from flying around just about an hour after Avery Johnson was fired. No surprise obviously, Phil is a living legend and he's quite available following his near reunion with the Lakers. Throw in the fact that he's angry at how the whole Lakers situation went down, and you'd think he would be highly motivated to return, especially to a talented team that plays in New York - you know, where Jackson played (Ok not the same borough, but the same city).
But it's not happening. Why?
The Nets aren't good enough. Yes they're better than their 14-14 record indicates. And yes they have a franchise point guard in Deron Williams (although the term 'coach killer' will start t be associated with D-Will now that he's played a big role in the firings of both Jerry Sloan and Johnson). But the the overall talent level in Brooklyn is simply above average. They are the type of team that if everything broke perfectly, could probably win 50 or so games and maybe, maybe sneak into the Conference Finals (again this is best case). Phil doesn't mess around with above average. If and when Jackson does return, it will be for a true championship contender.
If OKC is bounced early this year and get's off to a slow start next year, causing Scotty Brooks to get the axe - that's a Phil situation.
If Lebron really does team up with Dwight Howard in LA in 2014 and D'Antoni has yet to get the team over the hump - that's a Phil situation.
If the Clippers fall back to Earth, finally exposing Vinny Del Negro for the not-so-great coach he actually is (remember him in Chicago? Not pretty) and are in the need for a new coach next season - that's a Phil situation.
An above average team who has no realistic chance at a championship barring critical injuries to the best players on 7-8 teams across the league - that's NOT a Phil situation. Remember this is a guy who left the Bulls right as Jordan and Pippen left, sat out a year, and then jumped to a team that featured a 27 year old Shaq and a 21 year old Kobe. Then in 2004, when Kobe won his power struggle forcing the Lakers to trade Shaq, Phil got the hell out of dodge, again sitting out a year before returning. Following the Lakers exodus from the 2011 playoffs, the writing again was on the wall after the Mavs swept LA. Phil did not see that team as a legit title contender, so he left - again. Once the Lakers acquired Howard and Nash though, guess who was interested in a return?
Listen I'm not a Phil hater. He's a great coach, legendary in fact. He manages ego's as well as anyone I've seen in my lifetime and the triangle is remarkably effective. But let's not fool ourselves here, the guy picks his spots. Therefore I'd be shocked to see him return to a Nets team that just does not have the horses for a run at the Larry O'Brien.
Unless of course Prokhorov offers him a 3 year, $2 billion dollar deal with a majority ownership stake in Russia. Which I wouldn't 100% rule out.
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Related: Boston Celtics get Avery Johnson fired as Nets coach Mike Dyer 12/27/2012 02:51:00 PM Tweet