Legendary head coach Phil Jackson has returned to the NBA.
Well, sort of.
The 11-time NBA champion has returned as a temporary adviser to the Detroit Pistons as they seek advice during their ongoing search efforts for a new coach.
The team’s previous coach – Lawrence Frank – was fired in April after going 54-94 in two seasons with Detroit.
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"Phil Jackson is a friend and one of the best minds in the business," team owner Tom Gores said. “We are thrilled to have him as an adviser as we make some very important decisions for this franchise. Joe and I discussed this, and he and I are in full agreement that this is a great opportunity.”
League sources are saying Jackson, 67, will offer “advice and counseling” for what is expected to only be a short-term role. The former head coach of the Bulls and Lakers will be in Detroit next week to meet with both Gores and team president Joe Dumars as their search continues.
“Tom and I discussed using a consultant as part of our decision-making process in our search for a head coach, and we feel that Phil Jackson is a great resource to use,” Dumars said. "I look forward to talking with Phil next week."
Since firing Frank, the Pistons have reportedly been eyeing Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan and Rockets assistant coach Kelvin Sampson. With Jackson’s influence, Pacers assistant coach Brian Show – whom was a longtime assistant to Jackson in LA - is also expected to enter the mix.
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Despite his deal with the Pistons, NBA insiders have been reporting Jackson is more interested in an advisory role where he could shape a franchise from top to bottom.
One such team, the Toronto Raptors, have been aggressively pursuing Jackson in recent days.
As head coach of the Bulls for nine seasons, Jackson hauled in an impressive six championships. He later took over as head coach of the Lakers, collecting another five titles.
Jackson also won two rings in the early 1970s while playing for the New York Knicks. His 13 overall championships are the most for any player or coach in history.
Sources: CBS Sports