New York Knicks: Michael Wilbon
December, 8, 2011
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
During a roundtable chat with ESPN NBA analysts, Michael Wilbon guaranteed that former Lakers coach Phil Jackson will return to the NBA in 2012-13.
Will it be with the Knicks?
"New York's certainly a possibility" if the job is available, said Wilbon, who didn't cite any sources, named or unnamed.
Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni enters this season in the final year of his contract. If the Knicks falter and D'Antoni is not asked back, there will plenty of Jackson-to-New York speculation.
Jackson, 66, retired last season after the Mavericks swept the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.
Wilbon believes Jackson will sit this season out and prepare to return.
"You can mark it down: Phil Jackson is going to be coaching in the NBA next season," he said.
Jackson won a record 11 NBA titles as coach of the Bulls and the Lakers. He also won two as a player with the Knicks (1970, 1973), which is one reason he may be drawn to the job.
Another is the Knicks' roster.
Barring a blockbuster trade, the Knicks will have superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire under contract in 2012-13 and will pursue Dwight Howard or Chris Paul via free agency or trade.
And we know Jackson is attracted to a star-studded roster.
With both the Bulls and Lakers, Jackson's success stemmed from an ability to convince stars of the merits of getting teammates involved in the offense.
Maybe he sees another opportunity to do so with the Anthony and Stoudemire Knicks?
Wilbon made it clear, however, that Jackson is not interested in joining a team this season and "doesn't want his name out there while Mike D'Antoni or anybody else has a job."
D'Antoni, of course, will be under heavy scrutiny. If the Knicks take another step toward competing for a championship by, say, advancing to the second round of the playoffs, it's logical that he gets asked back.
If not, expect the Jackson-to-New York rumors to run rampant.
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.