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 to get first shot at Nets job… if he wants it


Does Phil Jackson really want to coach the Brooklyn Nets?

I’m far from sold he does, but he’s going to get the first shot, reports Howard Beck at the New York Times.

The Nets have firmly targeted Phil Jackson — the man with the 11 championship rings, the Zen maxims and the geometric offense — to replace the recently fired Avery Johnson.

No deal is imminent, no formal discussions have taken place, and it is not even clear that Jackson wants the job. But the search will start with Jackson and only Jackson, according to multiple people monitoring the process.

Jackson’s agent said he was not interested at this time, but that’s what an agent should say at the start of the negotiation. There are other reports Jackson is intrigued by the job.

My guess is that Jackson is going to sit down and share some vodka with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. There will be flirting, but when it comes time to say yes or no, Jackson will look at that roster — which is going to be hard to change in any meaningful way for years — and walk away.

Then the discussions can maybe begin with Jeff Van Gundy, Kelvin Sampson, and guys like Nate McMillan and interim coach P.J. Carlisimo who should get a look.

But maybe if the vodka is good enough, and the check is large enough, and if he gets enough power in the organization, Jackson can be tempted to take the job. Nothing is impossible. Just unlikely.

Report: Some Hawks executives doubt Danny Ferry’s contrition

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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Since his racist comments about Luol Deng, Danny Ferry has mostly avoided the public eye.

He apologized through a couple statements released around the beginning of his leave of absence. He met with black community leaders. He claimed “full responsibility.”

A cadre of NBA people vouched for him. A law firm the Hawks hired to investigate themselves essentially cleared of him of being motivated by racial bias.

But there’s another side.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Ferry’s efforts at contrition sometimes fell short to some inside the organization. Several Hawks executives were at times put off by Ferry’s behavior during a compulsory two-day sensitive training session, especially since they considered his actions triggered the assembly in the first place. He came across as inattentive and dismissive of the exercise, some said, and fiddled with his phone quite a bit. Ferry contends he was taking notes on the meeting.

“It was awkward for everyone because I had not seen or been around Hawks employees for three months,” Ferry told ESPN this summer about the sensitivity training. “I took the seminar seriously, participated in the role-play exercises and certainly learned from the two-day session.”

the Hawks satisfied Ferry on June 22 by releasing both the written Taylor report and a flowery press release in which Hawks CEO Koonin was quoted saying, among other things, that “Danny Ferry is not a racist.” Some Hawks executives grumbled that the team overreached in exonerating Ferry, but doing so — not to mention paying Ferry significantly more than the $9 million he was owed on his “golden ticket” deal — was the cost of moving on.

I don’t know whether Ferry has shown the proper level of contrition, whether he was playing on his phone or taking notes.

But I know what he said:

“He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”

He was not reading directly from a scouting report. He did not stop when his paraphrasing repeated a racist trope.

That’s a problem.

I don’t think Ferry intended to say something racist – but he did.

It’s a fixable issue, though. Through introspection and a desire to change, he can learn from this mistake. Maybe he already has.

That some around him don’t think he took that process seriously is worth noting. They might be off base, and Ferry obviously disagrees with their perception. But this is a two-sided story despite the common narrative focusing on Ferry’s redemption.

It’ll be up to any potential future employers to sort through the discrepancies.

Gilbert Arenas: Caron Butler’s version of gun incident ‘false’

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Caron Butler recently detailed the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton gun incident.

In a since-deleted – but screenshot-captured – Instagram post, Arenas gives his description:

The biggest differences between Butler’s and Arenas’ versions:

1. Arenas claims he wasn’t the one who owed Crittenton money, that the feud escalated over Arenas prematurely showing his hand during a card game.

2. Arenas says he told Crittenton to pick a gun to shoot Arenas with – not to pick a gun he’d get shot by Arenas with.