Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  62 responses

Report: Chicago Bulls Want Phil Jackson Back

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

The Zen Master is in the last year of his current deal with the Lakers, and having acknowledged that his employer wants him to take a significant paycut next season, the possibility that this could be Phil’s final run in Los Angeles is quite real.

Should Jackson elect to say goodbye to Hollywood, the Chicago Bulls — who are looking to make an extraordinary splash this summer — would reportedly be more than happy to welcome him back into the fold.

ESPN has sources claiming that Jackson’s old team has reached out through back channels to see if Phil has any interest in making a return to the Midwest:

The Chicago Bulls have reached out to Phil Jackson through back channels to gauge his interest in returning to the franchise he won six NBA titles with, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

There has been no direct contact between Bulls officials and Jackson, according to the sources, but people close to both parties have spoken and come away with the belief that Jackson would be open to a potential reunion in Chicago next season. Gar Forman, the Bulls’ general manager, refused to comment on the club’s coaching search when reached Monday night by telephone.

With roughly $23 million to spend in free agency, the Bulls are one of the more probable landing spots for LeBron James. James is intrigued by the possibility of playing with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, according to sources, and the return of Jackson would only make the Bulls that much more attractive to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ two-time MVP. Jackson, who is in the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, would likely only be interested in coaching Chicago if James signed there. If Jackson and James joined the Bulls, Jackson would have the unparalleled opportunity to have coached Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and James.

The Bulls aren’t likely to acknowledge the report, and three weeks ago, Phil himself did say that he’s not interested in replacing Vinny Del Negro on the sidelines.

His team is playing for what could result in his 11th NBA championship, but Jackson’s well-documented health issues make it so that he could retire from coaching next season, to say nothing of the fact that his longtime girlfriend works for the Lakers.

He will have to make some very tough decisions once this season comes to an end.

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  • funkdoc

    Man, can you imagine Lebron and Phil go to Chi-Town? That’s the beginning of a whole new era. The best coach in the league together with the best player in the league and arguably the best point guard in the league. Like Chandler would say: could that team BE any stronger?

  • funkdoc

    and first

  • http://kb24.com Bigi

    Just land Bron in Hollywood and get this over with…

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Even mentioning that it would be nice to have irrelevantly out-of-the-playoffs Lebron on your team gets you a $100K fine, but half-openly courting a coach on a team who is well in the mix and will likely win the title is perfectly okay? Does this sound ridiculous to just me? F*ck Stern and his stupid draconian rules. You’d think Lebron was the Thai royalty the way Stern has been enforcing his misguided free agent media lockdown.

  • http://www.myspace.com/freedmusic fredd

    MJ, Kobe/O’neal and then Lebron …. just dreamin’

  • http://minusthebars.blogspot.com Don

    Phil Jackson would be an absolute idiot to converge his teaching abilities upon Chicago ever again, after Bulls owner ended the dynasty-like run of MJ, Pippen and Rodman in ’98.

  • http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78/nursetpd/TSB/Danny_Ainge_Shamwow.gif ENDS

    alot of y’all were unbelievers whe I, I Said this a while ago but thats why we type things
    ENDS Posted: May.4 at 12:49 pm
    I write it here first. Lebron will be in CHICAGO. Theyre waiting on a coach LBJ Likes. A phill Jax/Chitown reunion in the works? Think about it… it makes your head spin

    I STARTED THE RUMOR. Y’all said I was nuts whos crazy now

  • http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78/nursetpd/TSB/Danny_Ainge_Shamwow.gif ENDS

    And DON it wasnt the owner it was the GM, and now they have one of Phill’s former Players there as gm

  • http://www.nba.com/suns Dacre

    We didn’t say you were nuts we said you needed to get off LeBro…

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Wow. Stories like this are far more intertaining than the two series.

  • Nigel

    If this happens Derrick Rose will probably be the best PG Phil’s had.

  • http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a78/nursetpd/TSB/Danny_Ainge_Shamwow.gif ENDS

    yo I hate leBron do your research baby

  • Taisen

    triangle offense with D Rose ?

  • LA Huey

    I see Gilbert offering this year’s salary to Phil to draw him to Cleveland before Chicago will ante up to get him.

  • http://www.nba.com/2010/news/05/20/derosa.suspended/index.html?rss=true Tommy Patron

    Think about it….Phil is the caretaker of the best player in the NBA. He has that trademarked. How much more does Kobe have at the very TOP level? Time to mesh LeBron and DRose……

  • Yesse

    Well, Phil could have LeBron in there. Alot of other guys too. Ofcourse we would have to see if LeBron can leave the coaching to Phil.

  • The D Train

    As a Bulls fan, I am bracing for a huge letdown. All this Lebron-to-Chicago talk has me all aflutter. Now throw in Philly coming back home and I can barely contain myself. But I am trying to be realistic and understand that it will take a lot of stars aligning just right for this to happen, so realistically I am looking at a much-less-exciting result.

  • mj23

    Phil, come back home to where it all started. LBJ and Phil would mean us being a dynasty again, and many championship rings.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    This would be a dream come true but at this point, its only a dream.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Oh, and Jeannie can come too. lol

  • Scottie Pimpin

    The King, The Prince of Chicago aka DRose, and the Godfather aka PhilJax, possibly on the Chicago Bulls roster ?

    Oh My Lord.

  • kg

    uhm do you really think phil is going to leave kobe after 4 soon to be 5 rings toghther …. ? common sense people . . .

  • kg

    and lebron wants to follow john wall so if j.wall goes to the knicks or the wizards guess where leb*tch@ss james is goin . . .

  • http://slamonline.com Chris O’Leary

    A sprinkling of gas on the fire…The number change to 6 would make a lot more sense this way, wouldn’t it?

  • rashado

    i can’t stand this sensationalist garbage…best player in the league? lebron has been to the finals once and got swept…yes he has amazing stats and is definitely in the talks for best player…but he needs to accomplish alot more before he takes that title. you americans love over hyping everything. best coach in the league? phil jackson undoubtedly has earned that. best player in the league? not yet for lebron.

  • rashado

    & also cosign kg

  • Jesse Dunns Ghost

    Man, my question is can D rose run the point in a triangle offense? A triangle pg works far different than the traditional pg does, and does not have the ball that much.

  • anti-crust




  • Hussman25

    Co-Sign O’Leary; I smelled something Fishy w/ that number change a while back…

  • Diesel

    @kg and rashado – he’ll leave LA if they make him take a pay cut like its being reported. The guy doesn’t need the rings anymore…its all about the money now. I’m with D Train though in saying that all these rumors are making me nervous as a Bulls fan because I have a feeling there’s going to be a big let down.

  • Diesel

    Damn Anti-Crust!….someone wasn’t hugged enough as a child.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    anti-crust, your capspace button is broken. And what part of “There has been no direct contact between Bulls officials and Jackson” did you not catch?

  • Reemo

    If I was Hpil and the Bulls, I’d rather have D-Wade

  • Reemo


  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Doesn’t a point guard in the triangle need to make jumpers all day long (Fish, Paxson, Kerr)? Is D-Rose going to go to Larry Bird’s 5 Star Shooting Camp for the next few seasons to get his shot right? 18 foot dribble drive pullups aren’t part of the triangle off of freelanced one one one play. Or are we forgetting that THAT’S what Rose excels at…and getting into the lane and creating shots for himself, not necessarily his teammates. Phil’s system would not work with Rose at the point. Lebron would excel in it, Noah is smart enough to play the triangle role like Grant and Rodman did but D-Rose is the odd man out in the Phil back to Chicago story.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    So far, what I deduce from this article is that, apparently Phil NEEDS the best players in the league to win. One of the greatest coaches ever, yes, but also one of the most overrated coaches ever. Who else has had the luxury of coaching the best player in the game, every team he’s gone to?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    “There has been no direct contact between Bulls officials and Jackson”
    Enigmatic do you really believe that? And do you really believe Philly Jax won’t read this in the news?

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Eboy, I don’t care what system they run, Derrick Rose is still Derrick Rose, and he’s still a hell of a lot better than Derrick Fisher and any other point guards Jax has had combined…

  • http://air-tsinelas.blosgpot.com Roy

    What Eboy said… :)

  • topo

    there is no possibility of this happenning , and if it did, which it won’t, PJ would trade derrick rose to have more depth at every other position. the triangle doesn’t excel with that type of guard

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    @Teddy-the-Bear – Do I really believe that? No, not really. Lol.

  • kobesBESTfriend

    Even if this does happen(which is highly unlikely being as Kobe signed his extension with the idea of Phil staying in lala land) Lebron will still get beat by the Celtics again next year…he’ll never smell the finals again

  • Diesel

    BJ Armstrong and Ron Harper were the starting point gaurds on those championship teams, not the guys you mention Eboy. last time I checked BJ and Ron were not great 3 point shooters and Rose is a better mid range jump shooter than both of them. I don’t care what system it is, if the guy is a good player, he can play within it…he’ll for sure do better than BJ and Ron did in it.

  • http://shinefluid@aol.com CHRIS


  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Diesel, I did forget BJ and Ron and I think you are mistaken, BJ was a good three-point shooter and Ron had a tendency to hit big shots at the right moments. And Ron’s true ability at the other guard spot (first with Michael then with Kobe in LA)was to take the defensive pressure off them from game to game depending on the matchup due to his length not to be a knockdown shooter since Michael was the main mid-range threat since he drove less at that time. Derrick Rose is neither a great shooter (good when he gets hot) and a defensive presence. He is also not a guy who is going to just settle in to a triangle style offense and take what’s given to him. That’s silly to think that. He HAS to have the ball to be his most effective…and with Lebron on his team (and D-Wade for that matter)he’s going to get real hungry fast.

  • http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com Tarzan Cooper


  • T-Money

    Call me crazy but I’d love to see D-Rose and Bron in Cal’s dribble-drive offense with Noah (and Bosh) as moving targets. The guy is a sleazeball but hey, it’d be fun to watch Bron’s athletic abilities be exploited for a change.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Diesel; John Paxson was the starter in both ’91 and ’92, Armstrong only took over in ’93. Also B.J. was a career .425% 3-pointshooter and Harper allthough not in the deadeye BJ, Kerr, and Paxson caliber, could hit the odd three. They were all far better mid-range shooters than Rose (lesser players however), do your homework next time.

  • http://www.twitter.com/JoshElam JE

    I think it would be cooler if they signed DWade instead of LeBron. I’d love to see Wade play for Phil Jackson.

  • Diesel

    @ Eboy and Lz – you’re right, my bad on BJ. @T-Money – I’m with you on that one. Its the perfect offense if you’re going to have Lebron and DRose on the same team

  • Robb

    Lebron can’t win. Even with Phil as his coach and Noah and DRose as teammates. I agree with JE. Wade in Chicago would be way cooler.

  • Tommy Patron

    @ rashado- Us Americans do love to overhype things. I’m not sure what part of the world you’re from, but if it’s somewhere with futbol/soccer, you have plenty of hype, as well.
    @Eboy- Couldn’t DRose play more of the 2 in the triangle(getting catches in the 15-18 ft range), with LeBroad handling the ball most of the time? Also, in Rose’s defense, better coaching with an actual offense could have a dramatic impact on what he does as a player.

  • E.R

    This will never happen. Phil retires b4 he goes back to the bulls. No offense to the bulls, just my opinion. This story is just an example on how the media makes up major bulls#it just to have more to talk about.

  • topo

    lebron should go to the clippers

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    THIS JUST IN: Phil Jackson offered to coach for the CLEVELAND CAVALIERS! Just lick on my link to check out this inside story!

  • KoBynum716

    LeBron going to Chicago would only solidify the fact that he will NEVER be the greatest ever, let alone top 5. If he wants to be known as a winner, he can’t go play in Jordan’s city. That’s just stupid.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Nah I’m just playing. Click on my link if you want real hip-hop, but don’t expect THAT story.

  • topo

    this has a lot of comments for something that has like a %5 chance of happening

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    Well, apparently Phil’s more interested in going to the Net$, and has for now ruled out the Bulls. So much for that, for now…

  • The D Train

    And so it begins. Can’t wait for Lebron to announce he is re-signing with Cleveland. Then maybe Chicago can spend all that awesome cap space on Ron Mercer…

  • Hangtime Hec

    nice link Teddy, I am going to bookmark that site right away.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Oh, awesome. Haha thanks Hangtime. Hope you enjoy it.