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Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson has a job offer ... from Knicks

Los Angeles LakersSportsNBAProfessional BasketballPhil JacksonNew York KnicksBasketball

DENVER — Phil Jackson, viewed by some Lakers fans as a future savior of the franchise, has been offered a front-office job by the New York Knicks.

Jackson, 68, recently met with Knicks owner James Dolan and planned to make a decision next week, the New York Daily News said, citing an anonymous NBA source.

The description of the offer was reportedly "more than just a consulting job."

Jackson repeatedly has said he would never coach again, but plenty of Lakers fans want him to return as a consultant to the franchise where he won five championship as a coach before retiring in 2011.

Jackson's name would help attract big-name free agents, an apparent problem spot for a franchise that lost Dwight Howard to Houston last summer.

Magic Johnson recently told The Times he would gladly help the Lakers in pitches to future free agents.

Jackson has never held a front-office position, preferring in the past to work from the sidelines of a game, though he has become increasingly intrigued with accepting a consulting position with the right team, often citing Jerry West's work with Golden State as an example.

Ex-players could easily envision Jackson with a job title other than coach.

"I think his knowledge of the game is as good as it gets," Pau Gasol said Friday. "And I think he's probably at a point in his life that he cannot keep up with the schedule of being a head coach, so I see him being involved upstairs in the office of a team … involved in basketball decisions and helping a franchise hopefully get the right tools."

Said Lakers guard Jordan Farmar: "He played with the [New York] organization so he's probably comfortable with them. I wouldn't put it past him. He's probably bored right now."

Jackson won two championships with the Knicks as a player, the only titles the franchise ever earned. They are enduring a miserable season, holding a 23-40 record.

Jackson would have taken a front-office job in Seattle had the Sacramento Kings moved there last year.

Bryant still out

Kobe Bryant hasn't played since December. He might not play again this season, all part of a new experience for him.

He has appeared in only six games because of a torn Achilles' tendon and fractured knee. His previous career-low was 50 games in 1998-99.

"We have stayed in contact and talked a few days ago," said Denver Nuggets Coach Brian Shaw, Bryant's former Lakers teammate. "It's frustration and different for him to be in the situation he is in. It's a situation that he can't control because of how serious the last two injuries [have been]. I have seen him play with broken bones and twisted ankles....

"As you get older it takes you longer to heal and I think that's what he is dealing with."

More problems

If the Lakers lack motivation over the final six weeks of the season, TNT analyst Reggie Miller has a solution.

They should remember their contract status. Only four players are guaranteed money beyond this season.

"A lot of these guys would be 11th and 12th men or behind the bench in suits and wouldn't be playing on other teams," Miller said after the Lakers were crushed by the Clippers. "You've been given an opportunity to play major minutes for one of the historic franchises in the NBA. You should care."

Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre and Nick Young are the only Lakers under contract next season. Young has a player option for $1.2 million that he is expected to decline.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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Los Angeles LakersSportsNBAProfessional BasketballPhil JacksonNew York KnicksBasketball
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