Having said numerous times since his retirement following the 2011 season that he had no desire to be an NBA head coach again, the news concerning Phil Jackson on Tuesday evening should come as no surprise.
The 11-time NBA champion as a head coach, viewed as the Nets' top choice with their head coaching position vacant, will not return to coach and remains firm that he would rather take a position in someone's NBA front office.
The news was first reported by the New York Post and confirmed by multiple outlets.
Jackson is reportedly the first candidate that King has made contact with.
Jackson opting not to re-enter the coaching ranks means a true coaching search can begin in earnest. General Manager Billy King will shift his focus to two other candidates that reportedly joined Jackson on his short wish list, Southern Methodist head coach Larry Brown and Pacers assistant Brian Shaw.Brown, a Hall of Famer with 40 years of head coaching experience between the NBA, ABA and college, makes a lot of sense given his relationship with King.
Brown coached the Philadelphia 76ers for six seasons from 1997-2003 while King was the General Manager there. Over those six seasons, Brown went 255-205 with five playoff appearances and a trip to the 2001 NBA Finals. Currently the head coach at Southern Methodist University, Brown is 1,519-1,092 between the NBA, ABA, UCLA, Kansas and SMU.
The two strikes against Brown may be his age (he will be 73 this fall) and his infamous reputation of jumping from job to job. In his 40 years of coaching, Brown has held 14 different head positions, including nine in the NBA.
Shaw is generally considered one of the NBA's top assistants, while being primed and ready for his first shot as a head coach. Shaw went to the NBA Finals four times as a player, winning three rings under Jackson with the Lakers from 2000-02. He also won two rings as an assistant coach under Jackson in 2009 and 2010.
Shaw was a candidate for the Lakers job after Jackson retired following the 2011 season, but was ultimately passed over in favor of Mike Brown.
Aside from the initial list of three, Jerry Sloan and Mike Dunleavy Sr. both said they would listen if King called, while Doc Rivers would be an intriguing candidate if the Boston Celtics were to let him out of his contract. Rivers still has three years left on a 5-year extension signed in May, 2011.
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA