Drafted by the New York Knicks in the 2nd round of the NBA Draft 1967. Phil Jackson was a member of two NBA Championships in the "Big Apple" 1970 and 1973 as a top reserve member off the bench. These days in Phil Jackson's NBA career are lesser known by many, Phil even missed the 1970 NBA Championship photo shoot.
What is known to a greater extent is the coaching prowess and intelligence that helped meta-morph and catapult the careers of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal to new levels. Hired by the Chicago Bulls as an assistant coach under Doug Collins in 1987. In 1989 after the departure of Collins, Jackson was promoted to head coach. From 1989 - 1998 Jackson coached the Bulls to two "three-peats" equaling six NBA Championships in a nine year span. The greatest span in modern NBA franchise history.
First three-peat included the Bulls knocking off arch nemesis Detroit Pistons. The only franchise standing between the Chicago Bulls and the NBA Championship. Detroit Pistons were the bullies and Phil Jackson was the young coach with the ultra talented NBA superstar Michael Jordan. When the "Bad Boys" Pistons implemented the famed Jordan Rules, Jackson responded with the Triangle Offense a modified version of the Triple Post Offense ala University Southern California and Basketball Hall of Fame coach Sam Barry.
Phil Jackson's and Bulls assistant Tex Winter "Triangle offense" produced NBA Championship victories against Magic Johnson and the Lakers, Clyde Drexler's Portland Trailblazers and Charles Barkley high octane Phoenix Suns.
During the off-season of 1997- 1998 off season tensions and contractual arguments grew between Bulls GM Jerry Krause and Phil Jackson. Tensions led to Krause announcing prior to the season that Jackson would not be returning to the Chicago Bulls "I don't care if it's 82-and-0 this year, you're fucking gone." Krause told Jackson. The Bulls did not finish 82-0 but the final season of the Jordan era concluded in dramatic fashion with the Bulls defeating Karl Malone and John Stockton's Utah Jazz marking NBA Championship number six.
After retiring for a season Phil Jackson took his talents to Hollywood joining the Los Angeles Lakers earning roughly $6 million per season to maintain the ego's of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. In the first season Jackson coached Lakers to 65-17 regular season and to the NBA Finals defeating the Indiana Pacers this was only the beginning to Jackson's third NBA Finals "three peat" as the Lakers won two additional NBA titles versus Philadelphia 76ers (2001) and New Jersey Nets (2002).
Jackson's departure from Los Angeles after the 2003-2004 season included several spats. Spat #1 Contract agreement Jackson was looking to double his salary from $6 mil to $12 mil. Spat #2 Kobe Bryant it is well documented that Kobe was a hot head a "me-me first player" usually deviating from the Triangle Offense to play one on five basketball against the other team. Spat issue #3 the departure of Shaq when the Lakers traded the greatest center in NBA history to the Miami Heat the writing was drying on the wall. Immediately following his departure the Lakers and Bryant fell hard and during the 2005 season the Lakers rehired Jackson.
The period from 2005-2007 presented Jackson with many obstacles the Lakers roster was mediocre at best. Even with a squad of Smush Parker and Kwame Brown Jackson was still able to coach Lakers to two playoff appearances. During 2007-2008 season LA Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies made a blockbuster trade as Lakers obtained Pau Gasol. With two stars to run the triangle Jackson was able to produce three more trips to the NBA Finals. Though it was not Jackson's usual trifecta Lakers won two out of three NBA Finals losing and then winning against the Boston Celtics and defeating Orlando Magic.
Look over Jackson's career and you will notice several attributes and key elements first his a well disciplined winner prepared to handle any challenge. Only challenges he encountered included greedy, zealous, power hungry GM and owners the other issue was Kobe Bryant.
Jackson understands his worth and command value it would take at least a minimum of $15 mil per season to pry Jackson out of retirement. Nets owner Mikhail Dmitrievitch Prokhorov Russian Billionaire and political figure has no problem shelling out $15 million per season.
Second major issue was the behavior of Bryant causing a distraction so damaging Jackson requested to Lakers ownership and management that Bryant be traded. This hints to Deron Williams the "Coach Killer" who could not understand or get along with NBA Coaching legend Jerry Sloan causing the longest tenured coach in American Major League sports to retire from his coaching post with the Utah Jazz. Over two decades of coaching history. Does Jackson want to inherit the "Coach Killer"?
Third point of notice every Jackson team had a superstar a player that was at the top of the league in individual talent. While the Nets have a good unit Williams and Joe Johnson will never be mistaken for Jordan or Bryant.
Fourth Point does destroying Jackson's Legacy come with a price tag? It is often the coach looking for work with a organization that is worth more than the individual employee. In this case Jackson has 11 NBA Championship rings his legacy is remarkable and that may be worth than what the Nets can offer the Zen Master to tarnish his legacy. Brooklyn Nets are not a true threat to the NBA Championship the organization has zero, yes zero NBA Championships and only four division titles. Why would Jackson bring his legacy to Brooklyn?
Why Would Jackson Bring His Legacy to Brooklyn? Phil Jackson is a Kingpin when it comes to coaching in the NBA and a Kingpin only cares about power. How much is Prokorhov willing to grant Jackson could be the key to any serious negotiations....