Hours before the New York Knicks won their second second consecutive game Friday night, reports surfaced that owner James Dolan met with Phil Jackson, the former Knicks player far more accomplished as the coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, picking up 11 championship rings and a Hall of Fame induction, and offered him a front-office job.
Jackson, 68, has been out of the game since 2011 when he limped out of Los Angeles, worn down physically since undergoing knee and hip replacements. He has done some consulting for the Pistons and Kings, but mostly stayed out of sight at his homes in Los Angeles and Montana.
Jackson came down from his ranch last week, surfacing at the Sloan Analytics Conference in Boston. And he sat down for an interview with USA Today, ending it by saying, “I don’t want to be on the sidelines.”
So the Knicks’ efforts to convince Jackson to handle what is sure to be a coaching vacancy might have fallen on deaf ears, but the report from the New York Daily News stated that Jackson would give the team an answer on a front office position in the coming week.
CAVALIERS: Soft-spoken and doggedly determined, 7-foot-3, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who overcame serious injuries and personal tragedy to become one of Cleveland’s best and most beloved players, had his No. 11 jersey retired Saturday night during a halftime ceremony certain to be emotionally poignant.
The seventh player in team history to receive the honor, Ilgauskas joins Austin Carr, Nate Thurmond, Bobby “Bingo” Smith, Larry Nance, Brad Daugherty and Mark Price in having his number raised to the rafters of Quicken Loans Arena.
Ilgauskas was joined at the celebration by his wife, Jennifer, and their adopted sons, Deividas and Povilas. He was surrounded by family members, friends, former coaches and teammates, including LeBron James, who was invited by Ilgauskas and wanted to support the player known simply as “Z.”
“Probably one of the most talented guys I ever played with,” James said.
The Knicks beat the Cavs 107-97 on Saturday.
BUCKS: Guard O.J. Mayo was suspended one game for punching New Orleans Pelicans center Greg Stiemsma in the throat.
KINGS: Reserve forward Carl Landry will miss the remainder of the season with a medial meniscus tear in his right knee that will require surgery.
HEAT: Signed guard DeAndre Liggins to a second 10-day contract.