Former Orlando Magic player Sam Vincent and an anonymous Hall of Fame player put together a plan to bring Phil Jackson, who won 11 NBA championships as a coach and two more as a player, to the Magic's front office in a consulting role, but Jackson turned it down, reports Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. The plan "drew some interest from Phil," Vincent told Schmitz, "but in the end, Phil decided to go with another opportunity." Jackson retired from coaching after the 2010/11 season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
In Vincent's plan, Jackson would have joined Orlando as an executive, not a coach, in a role not dissimilar to Pat Riley's with the Miami Heat. Vincent's unnamed partner in the plan would have been the Magic's next coach, despite not having any coaching experience. Had Jackson been interested, Schmitz says--and Vincent and his partner were planning to present the plan to him in his Montana home--Orlando's next step would have been to inform superstar center Dwight Howard of the news. Howard, who had formally requested a trade from the team during training camp, can leave the Magic as a free agent on July 1st, 2013.
As Schmitz notes, Howard would have difficulty turning down an opportunity to work with Jackson. And Orlando was hoping to use Jackson's clout to attract free agents like Steve Nash and Lamar Odom.
Instead, the Magic will continue their search for their next General Manager. Otis Smith, who held the responsibilities of a GM in his role of President of Basketball Operations, parted ways with the Magic on May 21st. The team also fired coach Stan Van Gundy at that time.
Vincent will continue his work as well. "Vincent still intends to present a variation of his plan to the Magic," says Schmitz. "It's a unique concept, picking men from the Jackson coaching/playing tree and presenting the staff for hire."