Peter Vecsey of the New York Post joined Chad Doing on 750 AM The Game on Monday morning to discuss a recent rumor involving legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson's reported interest in the Portland Trail Blazers president position that opened up when former Blazers president Larry Miller resigned earlier this month. Vecsey wrote a few days ago that Blazers GM Neil Olshey and his agent, Warren LeGarie, worked to "freeze out" Jackson from the position.
Here's a partial transcript of Monday's interview, in which he expands on the rumor a bit. Download the audio here.
Why isn't Phil Jackson the president of the Blazers?
Sources close to Phil, and I mean very close to Phil, tipped me off to the fact that he was definitely interested in the president's job and still is. There was contact made before Olshey had the job and he was supposed to meet with Paul Allen. Once Olshey came in, that never happened. The perception from his people is that he was frozen out. He thought Olshey didn't want the power to shift, obviously, because that's what would happen.
As far as coaching goes, so they offer him the coaching job. That's not really what he wanted. As I wrote the other day, his people told me he would have come on board as an assistant for Brian Shaw at home games. People scoff at that, like he's too big to coach. He's been through a lot -- I'm not going to try to defend him -- he went through another hip surgery or knee surgery, a replacement, he had a number of them. He had to sit in a special chair the last few years.
I think he wanted a year off from coaching, maybe never come back and coach. But it did interest him and it still interests him to be the president of the Blazers.
Why do GMs hire their agent's other clients instead of best coaching candidate available?
We know we don't like it. It's been happening for years. It's not only Warren LeGarie and Olshey, it's Arn Tellem. That's where he started, as a workout guy. Arn Tellem has been pushing him. Warren has got a cult going or something, the way these GMs, presidents and owners listen to him. It's fascinating that he's able to get one of his clients into Portland with what went on with Kevin Pritchard.
Your listeners are well aware of that. I believe I was the one who broke that story about how it happened. They ended up getting fired because the line to the owner and the owner's right hand guy, they tried to usurp Miller and maybe it's worked. Maybe that's why Miller left. I don't know Miller but maybe he left because they weren't listening to him any more. I don't know.
Power struggle between former president Larry Miller and GM Neil Olshey?
I don't know about power struggle. I'm guessing on this. The other stuff I'm not guessing. From the outside looking in, it wasn't his guy, Olshey. It was forced on him. I just don't understand what Paul Allen is thinking, if he is thinking at this point. Or his right hand guy. They've got this guy in, they're not listening to me any more, he's not who I wanted, so I'm out of here.
If they stop listening to you and they start disrespecting you, I'm not going to get into this today because I'm still under contract. But that's exactly what happened to me at the Post. But once they start telling you how to do your job after 40 years, it's time to go.
How would Phil Jackson be as an executive?
Your guess is as good as mine. I've been covering him since he was with the Knicks as a player. He's always told me that he never wanted to do that. That's why he was coaching. He knows the game, he knows the players, he knows what he wants, he knows the coach that he wants. He's a very bright guy. Portland would be very lucky, very lucky to have his presence.
The Knicks tlak about wanting to win, that's all [owner James] Dolan lets people know. I'll spend, I'll spend. How do you not give him an interview? How come you didn't go after and talk to Phil Jackson? Don't you want the best?
Update: Jason Quick of The Oregonian has this piece on the subject.
Phil Jackson has interest in joining the Trail Blazers in a non-coaching role, a source close to the legendary coach said, but it is unclear whether owner Paul Allen has interest in Jackson.
"Phil would be interested in talking about a possible role in the organization,'' the source close to Jackson said. "My sense is there is a lot Phil can offer by being there, be it handling players, advising trade scenarios, managing coaching staff ... I think he would be a tremendous advisor to the owner.''
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter