Bulls reaching out to Jackson, going for it all

Per Chris Broussard, ESPN:

The Chicago Bulls have reached out to Phil Jackson to gauge his
interest in returning to the franchise he coached during the 1990s,
according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

There has been no direct contact between Bulls officials and
Jackson, according to the sources, but people close to both parties
have spoken and come away with the belief that Jackson would be open to
a potential reunion in Chicago next season.

Sure it's a long shot, but if the Bulls offer up Jackson, the odds of LeBron coming to Chicago have to sky rocket don't they?  

Watching the pieces this off-season is a crazy experience, the amount of dominoes in play is staggering, and trying to figure out which ones knock down the others is interesting.

Does Jackson -> Chicago lead to LeBron -> Chicago which leads Bosh -> Chicago which leads to a dynasty?    If so, you can understand why the Bulls would spend 12+ million a year on Jackson.  He could be the gatekeeper to all the talent this summer regardless of the fact that he's also a great coach.

Does Bosh -> New York lead to LeBron -> New York?    What if Jackson goes to Chicago and Bosh to NY?   Would Jackson to Chicago simply make this his number one choice? 

Which also brings up the question, if Jackson holds so much sway, why isn't NY paying him 20 million a season to come there next season, of course, that may sound ridiculous, but for a franchise that once was paying out 200 million in payroll for a 30 win season, dropping 60 million on Jackson for a three year deal and eating whatever is left on D'Antoni's contract is chump change if it lands Bosh/LeBron and sets you up for greatness. 

Either way, the more I consider Mr. Broussard, the more I think he's either:
1) A crazy optimistic closet Bulls fan [okay perhaps not even in the closet]
2) God's personal messenger to Bulls fans
3) A sadistic Knicks fan sent to get my hopes up only to crush them later

The Jackson rumors have been floated by multiple sources, so I believe there's some truth to them.  On the surface it feels unlikely that Jackson leaves LA.  However, Jackson's legacy grows considerably by winning with a fourth distinct cast.  If a LeBron, Rose, Bosh, Noah core awaits him, then I think odds of him jumping are fairly high.

The problem is, like all things this off-season, so much of this is chicken and egg.

If Bosh, LeBron, or Jackson come to Chicago it massively enhances the odds of all three.  However, getting the first one to commit is the hard part.  Of those pieces, Jackson gives the least value to the team if they fail to acquire the other pieces.   LeBron without Jackson/Bosh is still damn valuable, Bosh without LeBron/Jackson is still damn valuable.  Jackson without LeBron/Bosh?   Well we'd have a great coaching staff, but I don't see it adding 15 wins.



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  • It wouldn't be just Jackson tho Doug, we've still got Jackson and 20 million to spend if bosh/lebron don't come. Jackson and boozer or Johnson would get us 15 more wins IMO.

  • FAST FORWARD into 2010...

    This isn't the 90's anymore. The Bulls' management, fans of this organization and the media need to MOVE FORWARD and step back into reality.

    It's time to CREATE their own niche, not try and RE-CREATE an old one.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Absolutely correct. PJ (and his triangle offense) would not work with the current crew even with LBJ. Time to move on. Thibodeau is my man. His defensive adjustments on the Magic have convinced me of his chops. I am concerned the Bulls management will fumble this one too, however. When you have the anti-Mounties in control (they NEVER get their man) you have to be pessimistic.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I feel the same way about Broussard Doug. He has me feeling that we have a legit shot at creating the best team in the league. And personally, About two weeks ago I was thinking just getting Bosh and a shooter would be the perfect and most maximizing way to end the off-season but now I am out for blood. Before I never cared for Lebron cause I didn't think we had a shot at him. Now I would be so disappointed if he left Cleveland and didn't come here. If he stayed in Cleveland, which I expect, I wouldn't be upset.

    I would love Phil regardless of if we make a huge splash FA wise. I think having a great coach makes out team that much better. Having him with Bosh and Lebron would make us a Dynasty instantly.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    "On the surface it feels unlikely that Jackson leaves LA. However, Jackson's legacy grows considerably by winning with a fourth distinct cast."

    I don't understand how the greatest coach of all time could grow his legacy...he has already won more titles than anyone before him, and has the second best winning percentage in history.

    I think coming to Chicago is a greater risk than asset to his legacy...unless they land the best available free agent, then it just follows his M.O. of coaching the best....

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    The amount of "good news", rumors and speculation we've been getting is a little overwhelming. The last 12 yrs have been rough and this season was a rollercoaster like no other, but this sudden perceived turnaround in fortune is incredible. The part that scares me is that it's all speculation, rumor and innuendo. None of it could come true. Not necessarily because our front office will screw it up (though the probability of that is high, too) but because at the end of the day any one of those pieces may very well say "that sounds like it could be amazing, but I'm gonna take a pass".

    Given the love the Bulls have been getting recently, how likely is it that the Bulls walk away with a vastly improved team even if LeBron isn't on it? Does the fact that so many rumors seem to be working in the Bulls favor make it likely that OTHER key free agents look at Chicago and say "damn, if it's good enough for LeBron, it's good enough for me! Sign me up!" Can the front office take this high profile and use it to make trades or free agent pickups that don't include Bron Bron? He is likely to stretch out his decision and I would hate to wait too long only to find the cupboard's bear after he doesn't choose us.

    I've long suspected that LeBron's people are creating this speculation to whip the league into a greater frenzy (including Cleveland) so they can use it as leverage and take the best basketball and non-basketball related offer which may not be us (while we may provide the best basketball opportunity, we may not represent the best off the court opportunities). Well, if we're being used how likely is it that we can use it to our advantage and make sure we win no matter what?

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Doug, I was thinking last night, everyone is setting our expectations for the off-season really high. Broussard on Lebron and David Schuster on Phil Jackson's possible return. Knowing this team I find it hard to think we are gonna revamp the team and just come in next season the favorites like people either believe or truly hope for. I personally believe signing Boozer/Amare and a Mike Miller/Morrow would still be a great off-season knowing we are not giving up any pieces but only adding to our current core. But people are now wondering how much damage we can do in the FA market rather than what realistically will possibly happen. What are your thoughts on this?

  • Call me a skeptic....but I am PATENTLY unconvinced of management's ability to pull anything resembling a coup off.

    Our one killer free agent signing was Dennis Rodman...and THAT was due to Jordan.

    Phil wasn't really appreciated when he was here...and we've had to endure a revolving carousel of the poor (Tim Floyd, Bill Cartwright)...the mediocre (Vinny Del Negro)...and the underappreciated (Scott Skiles).

    Can the Bulls pull it off? Well....financially....yes, they could.

    Do I have FAITH that we will end up with anyone besides Joe Johnson and a severe case of heartbreak?


    I'm actually planning my pity party now.

  • In reply to iamdvsj:

    I wouldnt say Skiles was under appreciated, more he maxed out his authority and hold on this team.

    We are possibly the cruelest organization in the history to fire someone on Christmas eve. And I mean in sports period, not just the NBA.

  • In reply to iamdvsj:

    I'm more excited about Thibodeau. Phil is great but his health problems worry me.

  • In reply to boogernights:

    You dont pass on phil. His being on the team increases our chances of getting Lebron that much.

    I dont care if you gotta put an IV on him court side every game and have medical aid on the sidelines. You dont pass on Phil. Phil passes on you.

  • In reply to 1096ballenf:

    I just don't want a Denver style disappointment when the Bulls is contending for a title and Phil can't walk or even get up his bed because of his hip, back or whatever.

  • In reply to boogernights:

    I'm more worried about wasting time going after Phil, and missing out on Thibodeau. I'm all for getting Phil if we can get him, but it's kind of like the Lebron situation. You can't hold out too long, you have to move on quickly if you don't get a good feeling about him coming here.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    I agree. I likie Thibs, but even this Phil news has me wavering. If Phil comes there's a damn good chance Lebren would too. I don't really know how Thibs is viewed by players. Also you hear reports about Lakers wanting to reduce PJack's salary if he come back- this I guess Phil confirmed. Either pride tells him to leave OR we are just leverage. We could miss out on our coach because of it... but do you take that gamble?

  • In reply to turdburglar:

    From what I gather, he's pretty much universally loved by his players. But there's probably a fair amount of candy coating on that, coming from Chicago journalists lately.

    But it's really not very often that someone who relates well with players is also a very good basketball mind. Phil isn't going to be around much longer. Besides the possibility of PJ drawing free agents, Thibodeau might actually be a better hire considering longevity.

    But then, we have no idea how Thibodeau reacts to being a head coach.

  • In reply to turdburglar:



    Let's MOVE ON people...to Maurice Cheeks.

  • In reply to iamdvsj:

    There are many problems related to this:
    1. As much as I think Phil is the best coach ever, the triangle takes a while to work. Can Rose, Noah, LeBron, Bosh all learn this to win a championship in two years. I think "Year 3" is more realistic. But the re will be lot of frustration before that like a Kobe Bryant had
    2. I agree that somehow I have the creepy feeling that Broussard is trying to play the Chicago fans and keep himself relevant. Or it might be ESPN trying to keep the fanbase in a frenzy for bigger viewership etc.. Call me a skeptic but for some strange reason sometimes everyone else in the national media(Kenny Smith, Yahoo guys and others sometimes don't even mention Chicago for LeBron) and Broussard keeps saying there are the first choice. Whom are we to trust?
    3. The other thing is if Jackson rejects it should not matter much. Although Thibodeau might go to New Orleans,,,there will be Elston Turner available:-)

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    the triangle worked plenty fast enough in LA. Year 1. In Chicago, it was Year 2. I could wait until Year 2 if that's what it takes.

    How long did it take for the other coaches we are looking at to win a championship?

  • In reply to iamdvsj:

    Dennis Rodman was a trade (Will Perdue-->San Antonio, who had grown weary of the 'Demolition Man' act). Jordan did reportedly push for it, though, after the Bulls got killed by Orlando on the glass in that playoff run post-comeback.

    That said, the recent major FA signings have been Ben Wallace, Ron Mercer, and Eddie Robinson.

    So, no, I don't have much faith, either. Hope to be proven wrong, though!

  • In reply to iamdvsj:

    Rodman was acquired in a trade for Will Purdue, and it was orchestrated by Krause, not Jordan. This was the second best move that Krause ever made.

  • I agree with that winning titles is what ultimately LeBron will look at. Otherwise, he will be just a HOF player like a Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen after he retires. He doesn't even have the speaking talent of Barkley to get ad gigs after his retirement. For everything that has been said of LeBron, I think that's what finally matters to him both emotionally and financially i.e. winning titles.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I deff. know what you guys are saying...but i think he really wants to win. And the best place for that is Chicago. It will probably take him a year or 2 but after Boston starts really declining, Kobe starts Declining...its going to be all LeBron James imo. Magic might not even have their team together anymore, and Miami might be tough with Wade and a top FA...but i still think we would beat them.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Are there people here really saying they dont want Phil Jackson? Really? I propose you should no longer be allowed to watch basketball.

    The guy's won 10 championships. 10.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    How many rings did he win between Shaq and Pau? Zero. He couldn't win with just Kobe. He's a good coach, but he couldn't win with just Michael either.

  • Zero chance? I think there's zero chance Phil returns to LA with that proposed pay cut! And that's whether they win this year or not. We're talking $12 mil down to $5 mil. Who in their right mind will take that??? Now these are negotiating positions and an agreed upon rate will likely fall somewhere in the middle, but still. If money makes us such a huge portion of a free agent's decision why should it be different for coaches? Especially one as proven as Phil? Let's keep in mind he's stubborn, too. More championships are nice, but money talks. The guy is a Kingmaker. Nobody should get a discount for that.

  • "there is no way Phil is leaving LA, especially with Bryant and Gasol still there and productive"

    I would give you that if we're talking about a coach that hasn't already won 10 championships, but that's not obviously the case. Phil is the Gold Standard. He would definitely leave just to prove a point.

  • Phil Jackson is not coming back to Chicago.

    Just because the Bulls reached out to him, it doesn't mean the interest is reciprocated.

    A person can reach out to anyone they want. I reached out to Scarlett Johansson the other day. Surprisingly, the interest wasn't mutual (although I have a better chance of landing her than the Bulls do of landing Phil Jackson).

  • In reply to KenyattaWright:

    +2 yep

  • Phil just said about a week ago that he was 90% sure that he would not coach another team besides the Lakers. He is using us as leverage so the Lakers pay him his money....

  • ya...if he actually does want to come here, then alright but I HIGHLY DOUBT he would. Byron Scott will get his interview in late June and probably grab the job imo.

  • One thing i think Phil would like to do...is to have coached MJ, Pip (cant forget about him), Shaq, Kobe and LeBron James...any coach would want that on their resume...that being said, Phil is to old and i doubt he goes anywhere.

  • In reply to Csharp:

    105 of the top 50 ever right?

  • In reply to senrad:

    Oops 10% of the top 50

  • I think all this Phil stuff will just pass on over in the next week. IMO i think we really like Thibideou and possibly Byron Scott. But to keep the Bulls name out there and media talking, i dont think Scott will get his interview until later next month. Right before free agency, then the Media will really jump all over it.

  • If the Lakers win this year which seems likely...why wouldnt Phil want to try and complete his 4th 3-peat...even if he takes a pay cut...4 effin 3-peats....that would be something to shoot for and very realistic. I dont see him leaving LA if they win it.

  • In reply to CN71:

    He left the Bulls on the tail end of a three peat. So, although unlikely, he did it before, he could do it again just to coach Lebron.

  • In reply to CN71:


    Chicago - Maurice Cheeks
    Cleveland - Byron Scott
    New Jersey - Avery Johnson
    Atlanta - Duane Casey
    New Orleans - Tom Thibodeau
    LA Clippers - Monty Williams or maybe Tyrone Corbin

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    The dominoes are going to be falling soon. That's what I see happening.

  • In reply to CN71:


    He's the best coach in the league. Period.

    Im not saying him that he's the only option, but the Bulls should absolutley pursue him at all costs, if there is mutual interest they should do everything in their power to get him.

  • There is a better chance of me landing Scarlett Johansson than the Bulls offering $50 million.

    But take Scarlett out of the equation if you wish and try to consider this from Phil Jackson's perspective. I know. I know. Hard to think of another's perspective. But try...

    Lakers have more talent than the Bulls even if Bulls added Lebron and Bosh. Compare the two teams for a second and you'll soon realize Lakers would still be better. So if it's a matter of talent, he stays in LA.

    Money? If it's a matter of money, the Bulls are not outbidding LA, NY and New Jersey for Phil Jackson. Not going to happen.

    This is a ridiculous story. You'd have been better off writing a story about me walking on the red carpet with Scarlett.

  • Head Coach - Maurice Cheeks
    Draft Choice - Paul George or James Anderson
    S&T - Chris Bosh
    FA - Dwyane Wade

    Watch for it.

  • It's called LEVERAGE. Phil is not leaving L.A., unless he retires.


    All you LBJ and PJ supporters on cloud 9, don't hurt yourself on the way down.

    I don't think either one is coimg to Chicago.

  • Honestly, I don't see Reisndorf paying Jackson even if we land Lebron and/or Bosh. And I think that we all know why he won't/can't.

    He might swallow hard and do it, if it was literally the only way that Lebron would come to Chicago.

    If Jackson comes into play, I think the number goes past, maybe way past his current $12 million. Clearly NY and NJ have the means to pay him more. I don't see Reisndorf getting into a bidding war with those guys.

    I still think that Lebron is domino number 1, not Phil and not Bosh. Bosh is far more likely to follow Lebron, than Lebron is likely to follow Bosh, which is why I don't get everyone talking about signing Bosh first.

    Phil is only leaving LA to coach Lebron, or in pridefull spite if Buss tries to cut his pay too much, especially if they win, which they will.

    If you built it they will come. Sign Lebron first, everything else will fall in place.

  • I can't believe that you just called Phil Jackson a tool.

  • Can't you tell that MR Happy thinks that the Bulls are too good to grovel for Lebron.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Do you know how much pressure Phil would be under if he came back to Chicago!?!?!?! Why would he want that lol its not happening.

  • make that 100 times.

  • Doug, maybe you need to get Broussard in for an interview.

    I don't know which of your three scenario's is true, but he is certainly the one that has taken most of Chicago from not even thinking about Lebron to being convinced that he is coming.

    Something about him smacks of a NY guy, but if he was he would be like everybody else, puffing up NY.

    I say bring him in for a chat.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    This would rule.... make it so!

  • really!?!?!? Why?!?!?!

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