Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson is "leaning" toward accepting a front-office job with the Knicks, according to multiple reports.
ESPN.com reported Saturday that Jackson would be installed as team president and that he would have final say over basketball decisions.
Meanwhile, CBSSports.com reported that Jackson is "seriously considering" a position with the Knicks but that the front office must be structured to his liking. One possible formation: Knicks president and GM Steve Mills and assistant GM Allan Houston would be in charge of day-to-day operations and report to Jackson.
These developments come one day after the New York Daily News reported that Jackson was offered an unspecific front-office position after meeting recently with Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan. It was previously reported that Mills met with Jackson to discuss the team's head-coaching job, which Jackson wasn't interested in filling.
Dolan tabbed Mills as New York's president and general manager in December, displacing former GM Glen Grunwald.
New York is in the midst of a disastrous season. The Knicks are 24-40 record, 3½ games out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony can become a free agent this summer, representing a top agenda item for whomever is calling the shots.
Earlier this month, the 68-year-old Jackson hinted that he was interested in returning to work and said that he has had "conversations" about getting back in the league.
"There are winners and losers in the NBA, and a lot of people are trying to reclaim their position or change their culture or whatever," Jackson told USA Today Sports. "So yeah, there is [opportunity]. I've had conversations. Some of them are feelers. 'Are you interested?' type of thing."
Those discussions stretch back to last year, when Jackson confirmed that he had discussed a potential front-office role with a number of organizations. Jackson served as a consultant for the Pistons during their recent coaching search, which ended with the hiring of Maurice Cheeks, who has since been fired. He was also briefly linked to the Raptors as a possible front-office candidate and he was also mentioned in rumors related to the Blazers and the Kings, had they relocated to Seattle.
In 20 years as a coach with the Bulls and Lakers, Jackson went 1,155-485 (.704). He ranks fifth all time in regular-season victories and he never missed the playoffs, winning six titles with the Bulls and five more with the Lakers. Jackson ranks first in postseason victories (229) and winning percentage (.688, 229-104).
Jackson was drafted by the Knicks in 1967 and spent 10 seasons with the franchise. New York won titles in 1970 and 1973, but Jackson was sidelined with a back injury during the first championship season.
In a 2012 interview with HBO's Real Sports, Jackson told Andrea Kremer that the Knicks are "special" to him, given his history with the organization, but he added that the team's roster was "clumsy" and that the main pieces "don't fit together well." "[Amar'e] Stoudemire doesn't fit together well with Carmelo," Jackson said. "Stoudemire is a really good player. But he's gotta play in a certain system and a way. Carmelo has to be a better passer. And the ball can’t stop every time it hits his hands. They need to have someone come in that can kinda blend that group together."