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New York Knicks president and general manager Steve Mills met with Phil Jackson recently regarding the possibility of Jackson becoming the team's next coach, sources told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
The sources said Jackson, 68, told the Knicks he was not interested in the position.
|Phil Jackson is open to the possibility of coaching for a short period of time if it was necessary in a transition period for a franchise with championship aspirations, a source told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne.|
A source, meanwhile, confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley that the Knicks have offered Jackson a front-office position.
The New York Daily News earlier had reported the offer, with a league source telling the newspaper that Jackson is expected to deliver his decision sometime next week.
Jackson, who has a career record of 1,155-485 in 20 seasons with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, has won 11 NBA championships total.
He previously has said health considerations precluded him from seriously considering a return to coaching, telling NBA TV in late-January that "my stock answer has been I have no intention of coaching again."
But a source with knowledge of his thinking told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that after having several surgeries over the past few years, Jackson is "ready to go back to work." While he's made it clear to any team that has approached him that he prefers a front-office role that would allow him to shape and mold a franchise the way Heat president Pat Riley has, he is open to the possibility of coaching for a short period of time if it were necessary in a transition period for a franchise with championship aspirations.
The Knicks, who snapped a seven-game losing streak with a win over Minnesota on Wednesday, continue to struggle under coach Mike Woodson. They are 18 games under .500 and 5½ games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"I really don't have an opinion on it," Woodson said before the team's game Friday against the Utah Jazz. "I really don't. Again, as I sit here today, I am the coach of the New York Knicks. I am not going to entertain anything about Phil.
"I have a great deal of respect for Phil, but I am not going to entertain anything about Phil Jackson. My job is to try to get this team to play at a high level and we got a big game tonight against Utah and we got to get ready to play."
After the Knicks' win on Friday, Carmelo Anthony said he was aware of the reports about the franchise's interest in Jackson but was not privy to the organization's pursuit of the legendary coach.
"Of course you hear it," he said. "I heard it when I came in today. In the training room, that's all that's on on ESPN, so you see the stuff. But as far as me, personally I haven't heard anything of that nature. So it's hard for me to speak on something I don't know about."
Amar'e Stoudemire hopes the Knicks can weather the current round of rumors and remain focused on trying to sneak into the playoffs.
"I guess when you're not winning, it opens the doors for a lot of rumors, you know? Our job is to win. If we win, there wouldn't be any of these distractions. The door wouldn't be open for so many rumors," Stoudemire said. "As players we've got to go out there and perform and win, that's all it boils down to."
Denver Nuggets coach and former Jackson protege Brian Shaw said he was not surprised to hear about Jackson potentially being linked to the Knicks but that he believed Jackson's coaching days are over.
"Going back to the last year that we were all together (in 2011), I don't think at this point that he would really have the energy to (coach)," Shaw said. "Like a night like tonight, after playing last night and getting in at 3:30 in the morning and just going through all that on a night-in, night-out basis, I think he would be more inclined to -- in terms of constructing a team from top to bottom -- be in more of an advisory role or a front-office role where he can put his imprint on a team in that way."
ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne, ESPNNewYork.com's Ohm Youngmisuk and Ian Begley, and ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.