The Mysterious Mr. Jackson

By now, the situation with Phil Jackson and the Orlando Magic is relatively clear. He's been a mentor to Brian Shaw, the favorite to fill our vacant head coaching position since he was an assistant on Phil's staff. Shaw is rumored to be the top guy on our radar, is highly-respected around the league, has personal ties to the Magic, and should by all means land the job.


Phil Jackson, in need a franchise to "put his hands on"

Given this familiarity, a situation like the one which has been floated to the media by Phil's agents, one in which he assumes the President of Basketball Operations role, while relocating to whichever city he is hired in, should very much intrigue the Magic. Their GM search can continue, their head coaching successor will have a "Tex Winter" figure with whom he's already familiar with in the front office, which is exactly the way Phil's agents have phrased his ideal role.

Many have denounced this potential relationship (including the editor of this website, citing supporters as "fools" or "buffoons") for various reasons, such as the manner in which Sam Vincent has inserted himself as a middle man, and the simple fact that Phil Jackson has zero front office experience. He also only has one year under his belt since retiring as a coach. There is undoubtedly nothing left to prove for him as a coach. He took a year off, as is customary, as is respectful to the franchise he's left, and found that the killer instinct within him won't let him spend another off-season waiting in the wings to impact a franchise in a positive way.

The quotes from Phil's agents about his desire to "put his hands on a franchise" clearly demonstrate that he feels he has things to offer to a front office, probably in the way that Pat Riley and Red Auerbach felt once they were done coaching. Phil's track record of coaching success certainly inspires one to consider the impact of his basketball IQ on the front office. There's nothing more that needs to be said about the positive qualities that make Phil Jackson an intriguing mind to add to the fold, especially given the clarifications to the original arrangement that evidently made the Magic pause, specifically the remote work arrangement.

As for Sam Vincent, some fear that he's inserted himself as a GM, when the details of his report seem to amount to a menial front-office role that serves as a "finder's fee" of sorts. Without Vincent seeing the link between Shaw and Jackson that already exists, seeing that Shaw is gravitating towards becoming our head coach, and thinking that as an organization with zero rings, we might want to align ourselves with the guy who has one for every finger and even one for his pinky toe. If he's willing to relocate to Orlando, and to get the ball rolling on whatever the future holds for this franchise, I just want to know if our fanbase is prepared to embrace him. I personally view this as the biggest splash the franchise could potentially make in its 25-year history. Shaq, Dwight and Penny were all splashes, but as #1 picks, they are small fish who grew while inside of our pond. Tracy McGrady has been our free agent coup to date, and front-office attempts at guys like Dr. J and Chuck Daly don't inspire the same sort of winning attitude as a presence like Phil Jackson's. To step aside and consider the fact that we are in the conversation for being the first chapter of what could be a very successful front office campaign, one to possibly mirror his spotless decades worth of coaching campaigns, is remarkable.

There is no guarantee that this is the right move, just as there are no guarantees for most things in life, but at the end of the day don't we want to say we gave Phil Jackson a chance? It sure seems like he's willing to move to Orlando, the Shaw relationship is already blossoming, and it would seem that the ball is in our court.

As far as money paid to Phil, Rich DeVos is worth $5 Billion dollars, contributes tens of millions to political campaigns seemingly on a whim, and certainly wants to see himself hoist an NBA trophy before passing, which gives him a relatively small window, realistically. I've gotta think he knows the potential power of a brain like Phil's, and would essentially blank check him to join the team. Money not should be an object here, even though it will take quite a bit to get the best basketball IQ in the game to sit down at the table with us. We shouldn't balk at the chance.

This FanPost was made by a member of the Orlando Pinstriped Post community, and is to be treated as the opinions and views of its author, not that of the blogger or blog community as a whole.

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