According to a report over at Yahoo Sports by Adrian Wojnarowski, the 76ers have received permission to interview Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Malone as well as Utah Jazz assistant and former Sixer Jeff Hornacek for the franchise’s head-coaching vacancy. According to Woj’s sources, “Malone is considered a serious candidate for the Sixers job. The Sixers have been doing a great deal of research on Malone and getting excellent feedback”
Earlier this week, Dei Lynam of csnphilly.com fame posted a story in which her sources said the 7-6 have “contacted” Pacers’ associate head coach Brian Shaw about their vacant head-coaching position. Obviously the Pacers are currently in the playoffs and hold a 3-2 lead over the Atlanta Hawks in their first round series, so it could be sometime before Shaw will actually interview for the Sixers job opening.
Now, I know the rumor mill is going to churn out a lot of these stories until the opening is filled. Some of them will be accurate and others not so much. And I am happy to see that the Sixers front office is doing their due diligence and interviewing a number of prospects. Lastly, let me just say that I have nothing against giving any of these alleged candidates (so far) a look see.
Still, I have to ask, ‘Has anyone in the Sixers organization even sent Phil Jackson so much as a introductory text message?’
I am not saying the ‘Zen Master” would even take a role with the Sixers. Allegedly he is seeking a front office job this time around (a “Pat Riley type role”) and technically, the Sixers already have a general manager in Tony Dileo. So that could be awkward for all parties. Additionally, I’m not even sure I want Phil as my GM or VP of basketball Operations — I’d certainly think about it though. If I had my choice, I would prefer it if Phil were down on the sideline guiding this young team on a daily basis.
We’ve all read that the Phil has a good relationship with Los Angeles-based sports mogul Tim Leiweke who is now a major player in the Toronto Raptors (new CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment), the team the rumor mill is tying him to this week. The Seattle rumors were also based on Phil’s friendship with Chris Hansen one of the leaders of that potential ownership group. The fact that Phil has a relationship with those NBA power people makes for easy rumor mill material on his reentry into the NBA.
But, I find it troublesome that no one is mentioning the Sixers in the same sentence as Phil Jackson. Shouldn’t the 76ers brass at least have a sit down or a conference call with a man who has 11 NBA Championship rings? Even if he’s not interested in coming to Philly, I have to believe that novices such as Harris and Aron could at least learn a few things about the League from a meeting or call with Jackson. Thus, IMO there is no good reason for the Sixers NOT to talk with Phil during this candidate search
In an interview last week with the San Francisco Chronicle, Jackson said “three or four teams” have already expressed interest and that “none of it involves coaching.” So, maybe Tony DiLeo, Josh Harris and Adam Aron have been calling his agent daily and leaving messages, but gotten no return calls. Maybe Harris & Co. spoke with Phil and his people on the quiet and Phil politely said he has no interest in cleaning up the mess that is the Sixers. Maybe Phil was contacted by the Sixers ownership group and he told Harris and Aron that he wants to speak with a few other teams before making a decision.
Honestly, I don’t know. However, I have to believe that if the Sixers had contacted Jackson across any form of modern communication, that there would be a “sourced” rumor about that correspondence somewhere on the Internet. Since I have yet to read one such article, post or Tweet, I have to think that the Sixers have not been in touch with Phil.
If they haven’t reached out to Phil yet and don’t plan to do so, that is a big mistake.