Report: Blazers talked with Jackson
Looking for more scoops on your favorite New England sports teams? Check out NESN.
You've got to give the Trail Blazers management some credit — the front office appears to be giving its all when it comes to finding a marquee coach.
Former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan turned down the Blazers on Thursday, but he's not the only big name Portland was chasing. The Trail Blazers were reportedly in "back-and-forth discussions" with NBA coaching legend Phil Jackson, according to Chris Haynes of Comcast Sportsnet Northwest.
Jackson, who has won 11 NBA titles with the Bulls and Lakers over the last two decades, had discussions with Portland about the head coaching job "for the last few months" before Jackson turned the team down, Haynes reports. Considering the rebuilding project the Blazers are dealing with, it would have been a surprise if Jackson was more than politely interested, but it's still saying something that the Trail Blazers weren't shy about reaching out.
Portland fired Nate McMillan partway through the 2012 season after McMillan went 266-269 over seven seasons as head coach. He was replaced by interim coach Kaleb Canales, who led the team to an 8-15 record to wrap up the year. The Blazers had a 28-38 record overall in the first season since 2009 that the club did not make the playoffs.
Canales, who is coaching the Blazers' summer league games, is reportedly in the mix for the full-time coaching job, but Portland also has plans to interview a variety of candidates.
Canales probably doesn't mind that the team checked in with arguably one of the best coaches in NBA history first.