Jackson denies interest in Chicago job, questions "back-channel inquiries" also connecting him to New Jersey vacancy
For the second time this month, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said he had no interest in returning to coach the Chicago Bulls next season.
A report on ESPN.com, which didn't believe Jackson when he said May 4 that he had no interest in the Chicago opening, indicated through "back-channel inquiries" that Jackson might be open to such an opportunity.
However, when it came time to actually talk to Jackson before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, the answer was the same as it was previously.
"I have no, at all, desire to go back to Chicago and coach the Bulls," he said Tuesday.
The report also said Jackson had been contacted indirectly about the New Jersey Nets' coaching vacancy.
"These channels have not reached me," Jackson said Tuesday. "I have no awareness of that at all."
Jackson is in the last year of a contract paying him $12 million this season. He has been consistent throughout the season, saying he would wait until after the Lakers were done playing, go through an annual series of medical check-ups, and decide if he wanted to return to the franchise for a sixth consecutive season and 11th season overall.
"As of now, I have not made up my mind about coaching or not coaching next year," he said Tuesday. "That's all I can say, really, truthfully."
Would he coach elsewhere?
"I've not entertained any conversations about that," Jackson said. "I just can't imagine it."
So he would coach the Lakers, if anywhere, next season?
"The probabilities are great," Jackson said.
--MIke Bresnahan, reporting from Phoenix