Bulls Trying to Bring Phil Jackson Back
By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 25, 2010 3:40PM
While we all know LeBron James is the preeminent free agent in the NBA this off-season, perhaps it's another guy with an expiring contract that could have the most influence on winning a title. Ten-time champion coach Phil Jackson, who lead MJ and Pippen to six titles with the Bulls before winning four more (and currently working towards his fifth) with L.A. Lakers, is in the final year of his contract. The Lakers have indicated that they don't want to continue paying Jackson the $12 million annually he's currently earning if he were to return. That doesn't mean he's opposed to returning to the Lakers bench anyway, but he's also hinted at retirement. But he's also indicated he might seek new opportunities elsewhere. It's not an easy decision when you're dating your boss's daughter.
ESPN is reporting that sources say the Bulls have reached out to Jackson through back channels to see if there's any interest in taking the helm on the Bulls bench once more. Given league tampering rules -- ask Mark Cuban about those -- there has been no direct contact between the Bulls and Jackson nor official comments from anybody in Bulls management, "but people close to both parties have spoken and come away with the belief that Jackson would be open to a potential reunion in Chicago next season."
Would the chance to coach LeBron James be enticing enough for Phil to return to the Windy City? Would playing for Phil entice LeBron to sign with the Bulls? Each one's decision could hinge on what the other decides to do. But it would make sense that Phil would be intrigued by a chance to coach yet another of the league's all-time greats. And LeBron, if he wants to win a title, must realize there is no greater coach to assist him in reaching that goal. Come July, the Bulls could very well be on the verge of building a new dynasty. Or all this speculations could just be building fans up for yet another epic let down later this summer. Even if LeBron and Jackson decide to tie their fates to each other, Chicago isn't their only option.