Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Phil Jackson to Coach The Bulls? NO!

There is a rumor, or report – depending upon your perspective, that the Bulls have sent out feelers to Phil Jackson’s people to see if Jackson is interested in coaching the Bulls next season. That is not happening. There are a few reasons he may not be coaching the Lakers next season, but if he is not on the bench in LA he will not be on the bench anywhere. Like Ali Fedotowsky, the new Bachelorette that debuted last night, Jackson and Ali are both in high demand, but their shelf life is very limited. Ali is not really famous and just like all of the past “stars” of the reality shows they should appreciate the attention now because they will be long forgotten in less than a year. Jackson is 64 years old with a tremendous amount of health issues regarding his knees and his back. He can barely pace the sidelines and work the officials during the games. He doesn’t have that many years left to coach.

Reason #1 to go to Chicago: First and foremost is……the money. (you thought I was going to mention that LeBron guy)

He’s making $12 million this season and the Lakers have notified him that he will need to take a significant pay cut to return to the LA bench next year.

Why that won’t drive him out of LA: Part of that pay cut may or may not be related to an agreement for Phil to not travel on all of the Lakers roadtrips and other methods to ease the physical burden on him. Yet that is not reported by the big-four-letter. The only thing reported is a cut in salary for the coach with 10 World Championships. That must be a slight and Phil should head for the exits. In reality, the Lakers may be giving him more respect than any other team would to allow him to step back slightly to maintain his health.

Reason #2 to go to Chicago: He remained on good terms with Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf

Why that won’t drive him out of LA: He is not dating Reinsdorf’s daughter. He is dating Dr. Jerry Buss’s daughter, Jeanie. That’s a mismatch in favor of LA. It just doesn’t seem very likely that he would up and leave his girlfriend’s father’s team . He has a comfortable life with a team and owner that respects him and allows him to do whatever he needs to do.

Reason #3 to go to Chicago: A Young and Talented Team

The lure of coaching a young and talented team with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and potentially that LeBron James guy. If LeBron were to sign in Chicago the Bulls would have a core of young talent that could challenge for titles for the next 10 years. They would also have the potential cap space to swing a sign and trade with Toronto for Chris Bosh, giving up Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and draft picks. It can be debated whether Rose and James would be a good fit together as both tend to dominate the ball and are primarily penetrators rather than outside shooters, yet you cannot debate whether that team would have the talent to win it all repeatedly.

Why that won’t drive him out of LA: The Lakers have more talent

Yes, the Bulls would be in line to contend for the next ten years with Jackson & James. However he is currently coaching a team that is two wins away from their third straight NBA Finals appearance. He is currently coaching the best player in the game – Kobe Bryant. Yes, Kobe is more on the downside of his career than the upside, but he remains the best closer in the game, the most clutch performer and fiercest competitor. None of that can be said for James or for Rose at this point. Jackson is 64 years old. Add to that his health concerns and it appears unlikely that he will be coaching more than 3 or 4 more years. Bryant will remain lethal for that long. Gasol will still be among the best big men in the game for that long. Andrew Bynum won’t be 25 in 3 years. Lamar Odom will still be on a sugar high (though the concern is that being married to a Kardashian could drive him to the looney bin). He has young assets like Jordan Farmar to replace Derek Fisher, and Shannon Brown to play the Ron Artest role. Why would he leave a sure thing for a chance to see if LeBron really has that ultracompetitive gear?

At the end of the day, Phil has everything he wants in Los Angeles with the Lakers. He has the best team that will remain a title contender the next few years. He has the girl, thanks to the owner. He has made more than enough money in his career to comfortably take a pay cut for less travel and wear and tear on his body. Phil Jackson will be the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers next season.

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