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Pistons tap Phil Jackson as coaching search consultant

Phil Jackson, left, says he has discussed the possibility of taking a front office role with a number of teams. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Phil Jackson, left, will serve as a consultant for the Pistons' coaching search. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Pistons owner Tom Gores has tapped legendary coach Phil Jackson to assist his franchise's coaching search.

Detroit fired coach Lawrence Frank after two seasons earlier this month and has reportedly begun the interview process to find his repalacement. The Pistons announced Thursday that Jackson will offer his thoughts and guidance as the search unfolds.

“Phil Jackson is a friend and one of the best minds in the business,” Gores said. “We are thrilled to have him as an adviser as we make some very important decisions for this franchise. Joe (Dumars) and I discussed this and he and I are in full agreement that this is a great opportunity.”

A spokesman for Gores indicated that this is an advisory role and not a formal position inside the Pistons organization. Joe Dumars, president of basketball operations, said he welcomes Jackson’s input.

“Tom and I discussed using a consultant as part of our decision-making process in our search for a head coach and we feel that Phil Jackson is a great resource to use,” Dumars said. “I look forward to talking with Phil next week.”

ESPN.com reports that Jackson role is "unpaid."

The Detroit Free Press reported this week that the Pistons have interviewed former Blazers coach Nate McMillan and Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter and may consider Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw and Heat assistant coach David Fizdale, among others. Shaw was an assistant under Jackson with the Lakers.

Jackson has been linked in various rumors and acknowledged recently that he has spoken with multiple organizations about a front-office position. Last week, he was linked to the Raptors, whose parent company hired former AEG executive Tim Leiweke as president and CEO.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle last week, Jackson said that he's not interested in a return to coaching but he would like to help "implant the game [and] a culture" by serving in an unspecified personnel position.

"I've had some talks with people and there are some interesting situations that are presenting themselves, but I really haven't made up my mind yet what I'm going to do," said Jackson. "None of it involves coaching. ... There are three or four teams that have been interested."

Jackson said he would be interested in a developing team "where you'd have the influence in (selecting the) coaching staff and the kind of culture that goes along with it. It goes all the way down to - not down to, but includes - trainers and the people who are doing the hands-on work with players, that have to be really embedded with how you put a team together."

Jackson, 67, was linked in rumors to a return to the Lakers' bench after former coach Mike Brown was fired following a 1-4 start back in November. Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak reportedly met with Jackson before hiring Mike D'Antoni.

Since retiring in 2011 with 11 titles on his coaching résumé, Jackson has said the possibilities of a return to coaching are "slim and none." That hasn't stopped his name from popping up in rumors linking him to the Nets, who fired coach Avery Johnson and appointed assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo as an interim coach in December. Over the last year, he has also been linked in rumors to the Blazers and the Kings, should they relocate to Seattle and become the Sonics, in front office roles.

Detroit went 29-53 under Frank this season, missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Gores took over ownership of the Pistons in 2011.

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