The Nets have been long-rumored to be interested in Jackson as a possible head coach. But now, that rumor might be looking more and more like pure speculation at this point, as Jackson has rebuffed the Nets' offer already
Ever since the firing was announced, and even earlier in the season when P.J. Carlesimo's departure from the Nets seemed more imminent, tons of free-agent coaches and even some under contract were and have been through around in rumors regarding the desirable Brooklyn job.
Former head-man of the Lakers, the stoic and incredibly-successful Phil Jackson was one of the bigger names to be thought of as a realistic candidate for the position. Brooklyn even reportedly contacted the 67-year-old gauging his interest in coming to New York, but later developments revealed that he's basically just looking for a front-office post at this time in his life, and turned down the offer.
Then other well-known coaches that Brooklyn may hold interest in quickly came out of the woodwork, with current Pacers assistant Brian Shaw looking like the No. 1 so far. Shaw, who played in the NBA for more than 10 years in his own right, was an assistant with the Lakers from 2004-11, and was groomed as Phil Jackson's eventual replacement before he was surprisingly passed over for the job when LA hired Mike Brown. Since then, Shaw has been in Indiana and tends to be viewed as one of the top assistants currently in the league, and seems to be thrown into the mix whenever a coaching vacancy opens up.
Also, current Celtics coach Doc Rivers and former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan — who drafted Deron Williams, now on Brooklyn — have each been cited as possible targets of the Nets front office. It is highly unlikely that Rivers would return to Boston if the current roster in stripped of veterans like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett this summer, as Doc has made it clear that he does not want to deal with another rebuilding project. If Boston follows that path, Brooklyn would be a logical and interesting spot for the 51-year-old Rivers if he should choose to continue his coaching career against a division rival of the team he recently won a championship with.
As for Sloan, the clear connection and chemistry — pre-falling-out — with Deron Williams would make him an easier choice for the position. The only concern there is that it is unknown publicly how well Sloan and Deron's relationship is with each other right now after it was reportedly Williams' urging that led Sloan to resign from Utah and led the Jazz to trade him to the Nets in the first place.
Brooklyn is still very early in the coaching-search process and there are tons of interviews, sit-downs, and phone-calls to go before anything is close to official regarding the team's new head coach. But it appears that there are a bunch of qualified candidates willing to take the job that will be a part of this process.
Which certainly gives GM Billy King some more relief, with the realization that no matter who he ends up hiring will be a good, if not great, coach for this team.