Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson answers questions at a post-game news conference following Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoff against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas

Report: Phil Jackson trying to get into Blazers front office


I remain convinced that Phil Jackson doesn’t really want to return to an NBA bench, what he wants is a consultant-style front office gig.

Portland general manager Neil Olshey apparently talked to Jackson about coming is as Blazers coach, but he said no.

Because that’s not his goal, reports Jason Quick of the Oregonian.

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 adviser to the owner.’’

With everyone talking to owner Paul Allen and his Vulcan Inc. team, does he really need another advisor? Another voice in his ear?

Would they even really get along? Jackson’s relationship with management above him has always had an undercurrent of tension. Paul Allen doesn’t seem to like that in his working relationships.

Which is all a way of saying, I can’t really see this happening.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.