A week after major news of Phil Jackson’s inclusion in the Detroit Pistons’ coaching search surfaced, a few new names have entered the mix, so on Thursday afternoon, let’s reset this timeline a bit.
A day after Jackson agreed to help Tom Gores, it was revealed Joe Dumars had already interviewed the San Antonio Spurs’ top assistant Mike Budenholzer. Perhaps considered the main successor to Greg Popovich, Buenholzer has coached his entire career on the Spurs’ bench and is highly regarded in the coaching world as a rising star.
Days later, Jackson fulfilled his promise, flying to Detroit on Tuesday to begin helping along the coaching search. In the meantime, the Brooklyn Nets fired head coach P.J. Carlesimo, and made it no secret they wanted Jackson to take over on the bench and perhaps also within the front office in some capacity. Jackson, though, has reportedly quickly spurned their offer Tuesday night, making it look like he’s holding out for the right front office situation while casting a deciding vote against a return to the floor.
Also on Tuesday, sources told Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojarowski that the Pistons planned on interviewing Houston Rockets assistant J.B. Bickerstaff on Wednesday. Bickerstaff, a little-known assistant who’s father Bernie Bickerstaff is a former assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers, only has eight years of experience on the bench, previously doing work with the Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s basketball team as director of operations. This would likely be the Pistons’ first interview with Jackson in the fold, who reportedly may sit in on meetings with candidates.
So here’s where we’re at one week later. The Pistons, despite serious overtures from the Nets, have maintained the services of Jackson in Auburn Hills to benefit their search. They’ve already spoken with a big name top assistant in Budenholzer and are looking closely at a coach considered a high riser in Bickerstaff. This, now in addition to their initial list which included Nate McMillan and Lindsey Hunter.
Clearly, things seem destined to remain on a deliberate course with the search given Jackson’s presence and the wider net which has been cast. As more names surface with Jackson in tow, things figure to get even more interesting in the coming weeks.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax