Monday, February 14, 2011
Phil Jackson wouldn't unretire for MJ
By Dave McMenamin
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has already gone on record saying that he would be interested in luring Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson out of retirement and bring him to the Big D if the opportunity presented itself.
But what would Jackson say if his former player and current owner of the Bobcats, Michael Jordan, called him up in the future to take over on the sidelines in Charlotte?
"We'd have a really interesting conversation; it wouldn't be about coaching though," Jackson said after Lakers shootaround Monday. "[It would be about] how he's doing, his life, his golf game, his kids."
Besides, Jackson believes that interim head coach Paul Silas, who took over for Larry Brown on Dec. 22, is the man for the job.
"I don't think he wants me," Jackson said of Jordan, while ironically wearing a Jordan Brand zip-up sweatshirt. "Plus, he's got a coach who's a mature, veteran coach right now and he's a good guy."
Jackson was asked during pregame availability before Monday's game against the Bobcats if he would consider being involved with the Bobcats in some capacity, perhaps as a consultant.
"I haven't thought about that," said Jackson, who usually spends 20-30 minutes visiting with Jordan at the Time Warner Cable Arena whenever the Lakers come to town. "It doesn't strike me offhand as something that I'd readily do."
Jackson said Jordan did not seek his guidance before purchasing the Bobcats in Feb. 2010.
"Or [my] money," quipped Jackson.
Jackson also admitted Jordan, with his ruthless competitive streak, could be a tough guy to work for.
"He'd be difficult, he'd be demanding," Jackson said. "No doubt about it."
The coach, who won six of his 11 championships with Jordan in Chicago, laid out the challenges ahead for Jordan as he approaches the one-year anniversary of acquiring the team.
"He's got to make some real strategic moves and he knows that," Jackson said. "I think he did some things that were important and I think you'll probably see more of it. This franchise, financially, has to get grounded and build an audience and become a stable thing in this community. Something that we think 15-20 years ago Charlotte was a town that really supported a team [with the Hornets]. They have to get that back."
Jordan, who turns 48 years old on Thursday, practiced with the Bobcats last week, causing Silas to say, "If he got in shape he could probably average about 15 to 20 points a game, no question, because he still has the shot," to "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on Chicago's ESPN 1000.
Jackson agreed that Jordan could still score big in today's NBA.
"He might be able to," Jackson said. "That's the crazy thing about it."
Jackson shot down the notion that Jordan was practicing in preparation of a third comeback from retirement, however.
"[It was him] trying to lose some weight," Jackson said with a smile. "He weighed two pounds heavier that day [when he stepped on the scale] or something."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.