Yesterday, it was reported that the "Zen Master," Phil Jackson was en route to the Motor City. Last week, the Detroit Pistons announced on the team website that Jackson, friend of team owner Tom Gores, had agreed to assist in the Pistons' ongoing coaching search as an unpaid consultant. As the Detroit News reported early this morning, Jackson's "assist" will begin on Tuesday:
A source with knowledge of the situation said the 11-time championship coach was en route to the Detroit area Monday and will meet with the Pistons beginning Tuesday to begin consultation for the team's search for a head coach.
Jackson's ties to former head coach, and Laker legend Kurt Rambis are well-known, and the connection Jackson has with Indiana Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw are clear as well. One would think that the Pistons will likely bring one, if not both, of Rambis and Shaw. Still, sources close to the team have told the media that the decision will be Joe Dumars' to make. So, while Rambis and Shaw might have the seal of approval from Jackson, they'll ultimately require the nod from Dumars to earn the coaching seat.
The Pistons brought in San Antonio Spurs assistant head coach Mike Budenholzer last week, along with Nate McMillan and Lindsey Hunter. They are also reportedly interested in Houston Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson, Oklahoma City Thunder assistant head coach Maurice "Mo" Cheeks, and New York Knicks assistant Darrell Walker.
Sampson has been thought to be a strong NBA head coaching candidate since leaving Indiana University under a cloud of NCAA sanctions, and his time on Kevin McHale's successful Houston Rockets bench has put some extra life in Sampson's name around coaching circles. Like the already interviewed McMillan, Cheeks has two separate NBA head coaching experiences with the Phialdelphia 76ers (2005-08), and the Portland Trailblazers (2001-05). Walker's name is intriguing to Dumars because of Walker's ties and experience with Knicks head coach Mike Woodson. Remember, Woodson was an assistant under Larry Brown for the Pistons, and was also Dumars' first-choice when the Pistons were last in the market for a head coach. The Pistons instead went with Lawrence Frank, as Frank was the owner's preferred choice.
Who knows what will happen when Jackson come to town, but it will be interesting.
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