Everything Pete Carroll has done has seemingly turned into gold, including leading USC to a 2004 BCS national championship and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks winning Super Bowl XLVIII this past season. Now Carroll has incidentally turned into an NBA insider, tweeting perhaps preemptively that Phil Jackson has accepted a position with the New York Knicks.
Congrats to Phil Jackson on his new role with the Knicks! It’s good to have him back in the NBA!
— Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) March 11, 2014
Various reports have indicated Jackson could accept a front office position with the Knicks, perhaps by the end of this week. If that’s the case, this would mark the second time in a little over a year that the Lakers allowed Jackson to get away.
The Lakers first interviewed Jackson after firing Mike Brown five games into the 2011-12 season, suggesting that it was his job to turn down and that both sides would meet again in a few days. But in an infamous midnight phone call, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak informed Jackson the Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni instead. All accounts have said that the late Lakers owner Jerry Buss made the final call on D’Antoni’s hire, believing his pairing with Steve Nash would provide a worthy sequel of Showtime. But the grand experiment fell apart. Steve Nash has remained hobbled with injuries. D’Antoni met philosophical differences among Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and even Kobe Bryant on the pace of play and how he utilizes his big men in the post. Howard departed to Houston partly because the Lakers didn’t listen to his pleas through his representatives to hire Jackson.
Amid the persistent losing the past two seasons, Jackson has remained a looming shadow. Laker fans constantly yell “We want Phil” chants during blowouts, cognizant on how he won five of his 11 NBA titles in two separate stints with the Lakers (1999-2004, 2005-2011). Jackson also has a presence because of his relationship with longtime companion and fiance Jeanie Buss, the Lakers vice president of business operations who became the team’s governor and president following the late Jerry Buss’ passing last February. Jackson and Jeanie Buss revealed last June that he had an unofficial consulting role with the Lakers.
But Jackson’s influence with the Lakers has seemed pretty minimal. He didn’t participate in the Lakers’ meeting last July to convince Howard to stay. Kupchak only described Jackson’s unofficial role as a “consultant of sorts.” Jackson revealed he has not spoken with Lakers vice president of player personnel Jim Buss since his interview with the Lakers last November.