Raptors rumors: Toronto eyeing Phil Jackson

The Toronto Raptors are considering making a run at former Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson, according to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.


Sources told ESPN.com this week that the Raptors have interest in talking with Jackson about the Pat Riley-style role he craves in charge of a team's basketball operations.

Stein and Shelburne note that Toronto’s chances of adding Jackson “appear to be much more realistic” now that heavyweight sports executive Tim Leiweke has been hired as the new president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment – the conglomerate that owns and operates the Raptors.

It was recently reported that Jackson is now interested in returning to the NBA after spending two seasons in retirement. He’s reportedly itching to get back into the league, though not necessarily in a coaching role. Jackson could instead return in a capacity similar to the one Pat Riley holds with the Miami Heat or Jerry West holds with the Golden State Warriors. This would allow him to oversee both the basketball department and the coaching staff, or become at least a high-level consultant for a team.

Jackson has told reporters that several teams have approached him with offers. He’s apparently already turned down the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have instead re-signed former coach Mike Brown.

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