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Report: Phil Jackson leaning toward joining Knicks

Phil Jackson.

Phil Jackson. Credit: Getty Images

CLEVELAND -- Phil Jackson could be moving closer to taking a front-office position with the Knicks, according to an ESPN report.

The report says a source close to the Knicks said no decision has been made but that Jackson is "leaning toward'' taking the role of president of basketball operations and would have complete control of all basketball-related matters. The Knicks had no comment on the report.

Steve Mills, who was hired in September to be the Knicks' president and general manager, was asked about the ESPN story before Saturday night's game against the Cavaliers and said, "I can't talk about it.'' Approached again later, he said, "I can't say anything.''

Jackson, 68, reportedly is expected to give the Knicks his decision this week.

Jackson has won an NBA-record 11 championships as a head coach and was a member of the Knicks' only two title teams, although a back injury prevented him from playing at all during the first championship season. He has all but ruled out coaching at this point but has expressed interest in working in a front office. This would be his first foray as an executive.

The Knicks hope Jackson would do for them what another title-winning coach, Pat Riley, has done in building the Heat into a champion.

It's clear the Knicks believe Jackson can help keep impending free agent Carmelo Anthony from leaving this summer. He also could give the Knicks the kind of credibility to make other free agents want to come to New York.

"At this point I'm not even going to entertain that,'' coach Mike Woodson said. "My job right now is we're in a race to get this team that eighth spot and that's what I'm prepared to do. Phil Jackson, I'm going to stay away from that.''

The initial report regarding Jackson was that Mills met with him about coaching the Knicks. Jackson wasn't interested in that.

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