While Phil Jackson is still trying to figure out Phoenix’s zone defense in time for Game 5 tonight, his name is being circulated wildly in coaching rumors. The Bulls, Nets, and Cavs have all either (allegedly) reached out to Jackson or put him on their coaching wish-list. Jackson’s contract with the Lakers is up after the season, and the Lakers have made it known that they want Phil to take a paycut from his $12 million salary. With a possible paycut looming, Phil could land elsewhere this summer, and any team looking to sign LeBron needs to scoop him up.
Jackson has won 10 NBA Championships as a head coach, and wherever this guy goes he wins. Any team that hires Phil is adding an unbelievably valuable commodity. This guy has taken talented teams to the next level throughout his career. Before he went to Chicago, the Bulls hadn’t won a championship; and before he went to the Lakers, Kobe and Shaq hadn’t won one either. This guy can instantly turn any team into a title contender, and for a team that wants LeBron, signing Phil is the best way to get him on board. LeBron never had full-trust in Mike Brown and it was quite evident at times. With Phil, LeBron would have to trust him because this guy has gotten the best players in the game rings. And if LeBron can’t trust Phil as a coach, what coach would he believe could get him a title?
Since Phil has the ability to transform a team into a contender instantly, the Nets, Bulls, and Cavs should throw tons of money his way. If these teams are really serious about signing the best player in the world, then they have to sign the best coach in the world too. Signing Phil not only shows LeBron that said team cares about winning, but also shows that they will be willing to put the money into building a championship team.
While Jerry Buss wants Jackson to take a paycut, these teams should be offering Jackson a raise. However, saying that, I think that only the Nets have the money to truly pull Jackson away from L.A. Mikhail Prokhorov‘s pockets are so deep that paying Phil around $15 million a year would be nothing for him. On the other hand, the Bulls are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf who is known as being tight with his purse strings, and Cleveland is owned by Dan Gilbert who doesn’t have nearly the resources that Prokhorov does. Even though Gilbert’s wallet is not as full as Prokhorov’s, the future of his franchise depends on re-signing LeBron James. If LeBron leaves, the value of his team decreases exponentially, so throwing $15 million or so at Phil is more than a wise investment.
Ultimately what the LeBron sweepstakes will come down to is winning. LeBron wants a championship badly, and while he wants to promote his individual brand, that is secondary to becoming a champion. Any team that brings in Phil sends a strong message to LeBron: we want to win, and our coach can help you do that.
What do you think?
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