5:44pm: Leiweke told reporters, including USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt, that he and Jackson have spoken this week, but only about the city of Toronto and not basketball matters. Still, he acknowledged that he and Jackson are friends (Twitter links).
3:48pm: Stein and Ramona Shelburne have included a few more details on Jackson and the Raptors in their full story on the subject at ESPN.com. Here are a few of the notable new items:
- Prior to the hiring of Leiweke, the Raptors were leaning toward retaining both Colangelo and coach Dwane Casey. However, Leiweke's presence throws their futures into doubt.
- Sources continue to stress to ESPN.com that it's very likely Jackson will be back in the NBA next season in some capacity.
- One source tells the ESPN duo that Jackson has "far more of an open mind than has been portrayed" with regard to potential job openings, and that he's willing to consider just about any legitimate pitch.
- A reunion with the Lakers remains highly unlikely for Jackson.
- Jackson is well-regarded by Chris Hansen, who is leading the Seattle group trying to buy the Kings. If Hansen's purchase of the franchise is improved, the opportunity for Jackson to put together a coaching staff and front-office team may arise in Seattle.
- The Nets may also make a run at Jackson for their coaching position this summer, since owner Mikhail Prokhorov is believed to want to make a "splashy hire."
1:26pm: Earlier this week, Phil Jackson confirmed that he has spoken to "three or four teams" about possible front office jobs, and now it appears the identity of some of those teams are surfacing.
Yesterday, Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio reported that the Bobcats may be considering offering Phil Jackson a chance to run Charlotte's basketball operations. Today, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports (via Twitter) he has been hearing "rumbles all week" that the Raptors are planning to make a run at Jackson, potentially offering him the team presidency.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the majority owner of the Raptors and the NHL's Maple Leafs, among other Toronto sports teams, announced today that Tim Leiweke will become the company's new president and CEO, effective June 30th. Leiweke had previously held a similar role at Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns a portion of the Lakers and other Los Angeles franchises. As Stein points out (via Twitter), Leiweke gives the Raptors a "major player with L.A. ties" who could make a pitch Jackson would consider.
Current Raptors president Bryan Colangelo has one year remaining on his contract, but the team has yet to formally exercise its option on Colangelo for 2013/14.