12:36pm: Jackson had wanted to meet with Knicks owner James Dolan instead of Mills, as Broussard noted in his report, but Jackson would be leery of working for Dolan, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post. Berman also hears that Jackson needs another knee replacement surgery and raises the specter that he could serve the team as a consultant on its coaching search, as he did with the Pistons last summer.
12:05pm: The Knicks would consider offering Jackson a front office position, a source tells Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
10:35am: Knicks GM Steve Mills and Phil Jackson had a meeting about two weeks ago about the possibility of the Zen Master taking over as Knicks coach, reports Stephen A. Smith of ESPN.com. Jackson told Mills he wasn’t interested, Smith hears. Jackson recently issued yet another denial of the notion that he’ll ever come back to coach in an interview with Sam Amick of USA Today. The Knicks are reportedly planning to keep coach Mike Woodson until the end of the season and make an offseason search for a marquee coach part of its pitch to Carmelo Anthony, who can opt out of his contract and leave as a free agent this summer.
Jackson, 68, has repeatedly downplayed the idea that he would return to coaching, leaving a degree of wiggle room in those statements but making it clear that he prefers a front office role. The Knicks have Mills and assistant GM Allan Houston, whom they’re reportedly grooming as a future GM, already in the front office, so it’s unlikely there’d be room for Jackson to have much of a say in the team’s personnel decisions.
The team is reportedly eyeing Tom Thibodeau, Jeff Van Gundy and Stan Van Gundy, too, though Thibodeau will still be under contract with the Bulls this summer, and it doesn’t appear as though he’s going to force his way out of that deal. Stan Van Gundy won’t rule out coaching next season if there’s an overwhelming opportunity, but he’s unlikely to come back to the sidelines. Jeff Van Gundy would probably be interested in returning to his old job, but if he insists on having any control over personnel matters, that could complicate the team’s pursuit.