Pippen was asked Friday on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000 if he could see the 66-year-old Jackson returning to the NBA.
“I do,” Pippen said. “I think he had definitely run his course in L.A. He had had a lot of success there and had some up-and-down situations, but I think all in all it was probably good for both sides for him to move on.
“But, yeah, I do see a lot of basketball left in Phil. He still has a great mind, a lot of knowledge. I know for a fact he had some physical problems going on with him that he needed to take care of. He’s underway with that right now, so hopefully his recovery and everything goes well. Hopefully, we can see him back in the game in the next couple, three years, maybe next year.”
Jackson won six titles with Pippen, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, followed by five with the Los Angeles Lakers. He retired after last season and was dealing with hip problems.
Jackson’s companion, Jeanie Buss, who is a Lakers executive and daughter of Lakers owner, Jerry Buss, told the Los Angeles Times that no team has called and she’s unsure about Jackson’s future.
“Well, first of all, the New York Knicks have a coach. They have a coach, so it’s not even worth talking about a coaching position such as that,” Buss said Friday on 710 ESPN’s “Max and Marcellus.” “No one’s contacted Phil, but I can’t speak on his behalf. But what I do chuckle about is when people talk about the kind of money that would be needed to motivate Phil. I can just tell you that there’s no amount of money that could motivate Phil to do anything he doesn’t want to do.
“If there is something that Phil wants to do, money isn’t what he’s interested in. If there’s something that he wants to do, he’s gonna do it. You can’t buy Phil and if it’s something he doesn’t want to do, that’s just not his personality type.”
There was speculation that Jackson could be persuaded to return to coach the Knicks, for whom he once played and helped win a title in 1973. The Knicks fired coach Mike D’Antoni this season, and Mike Woodson has been widely praised for the work he’s done on an interim basis.
“I definitely think Woodson has done a great job with them, and it’s hard to change with what he’s been doing thus far,” Pippen said. “But when you’re talking about Phil Jackson, you’re talking about another level of coaching and you’re talking about immediate success, based on his track record.
“Phil would definitely be a great fit, a former Knick player, a guy who always sort of eyed that New York market, so I definitely think it would be a great win-win situation for both.”