The head coaching carousel in the NBA is starting to turn, turn, turn. Bad teams are releasing coaches and, in the case of the Philadephia 76ers, some coaches are deciding to just leave on their own.
Ever since Mike Brown was fired by the Los Angeles Lakers five games into the season, the Zen Master Phil Jackson always seems to become a part of the next coach conversation. Phil himself has now hinted aboutcoming back to coach next season, maybe feeling slighted from not getting the Lakers’ job. He did take a short meeting with the Cleveland Cavaliers before they decided to revisit the past and hire Brown. If he really wants to come back to coach, then I can think of five jobs he should really consider now that coaching Kyrie Irving is off the table.
You have a young All-Star in Jrue Holiday who would benefit from Phil’s triangle offense. They also have a host of young swingmen like Thaddeus Young, Nick Young and Evan Turner. The 76ers took on Andrew Bynum and have a tough decision to make now after he missed the entire season. If they keep him, who is the only head coach so far to get anything out of Bynum? Phil Jackson won two championships with him.
Vinny Del Negro has been on the hot seat since Blake Griffin came to town. When they added Chris Paul to the roster, his seat was scorched earth. The Clippers could go to the NBA Finals, lose in seven games and Del Negro may still get fired. Phil would get to stay in L.A. The only drawback is that it would be a hard sell to get him to coach the rival L.A. franchise when his fiancee is Jeanne Buss, sister of Lakers’ owner Jim Buss. That type of conflict can not be mended with mediation. On a better note, he would have the most athletic team in the NBA to start with. Could Chris Paul maybe demand Phil Jackson to be the coach before he signs long-term with the franchise? Wouldn’t that be interesting.
P.J. Carlisemo is only the interim head coach after Avery Johnson was fired 28 games in the season–shortly after being named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for November–after the Nets slumped to a .500 record. Nets general manager Billy King has since earned a new contract since Carlisemo took over. The Nets and Deron Williams are together for better or for worse. You want to keep Williams happy and try to lure Dwight Howard from the Lakers, so what better way to do it? Bring in the coach that Dwight wanted over Mike D’Antoni. Plus the shiny new Barclays Center demands a high-profile coach.
Phil would have a his franchise piece to build around in James Harden and the lure to bring Dwight Howard if he leaves L.A. Although Jackson spent many years coaching the opponent in Houston, the fans would support him. Harden is on the cusp of super-stardom and a coach like Jackson could elevate him to a spot on the unprecedented list of talent he has already coached. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal come to mind.
5. Miami Heat
Why? It fits Phil Jackson’s criteria when picking a head-coaching job perfectly. Get with a team with the best talent. In six championship seasons with the Chicago Bulls, he had the best team in the world at the time. For five championship seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, he had the most talented team in the NBA. What better way for LeBron James to complete his quest to surpass Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan than to get coached by the same guy?