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Insider: Phil Jackson still top priority for Brooklyn Nets

Dilip Vishwanat

Phil Jackson may have sent signals he's not interested in coaching again and that he prefers a "visionary" role to that of executive but none of that is stopping the Nets from making him their first choice.

"The only one is Phil right now," a Nets insider told NetsDaily Monday night when asked about leading candidates. The source added that Billy King is doing research on the other candidates but has not yet reached out.

Various reports Monday night suggested the Nets had made contact with Jackson although as of Monday afternoon, King told Ryan Ruocco and Stephen A. Smith, "I have not made any calls... so it's hard to speculate."

Among those who reported that the Nets had reached out were David Aldridge, Chris Broussard and Frank Isola and Stefan Bondy, the latter two after suggesting, erroneously according to the insider, that Mike Dunleavy Sr. was a leading "dark horse" candidate.

In a tweet early Tuesday morning, Peter Vecsey suggested the Nets could offer the 68-year-old Jackson a combined coaching/front office job.

No one in the Nets hierarchy is suggesting that Jackson will take the job, but the Nets are not going to assume he won't. A league source told NetsDaily recently that the possibility was "remote" but as another said not long ago, Mikhail Prokhorov is going to get Phil Jackson "or die trying."

By Tuesday afternoon, Tim Bontemps wrote that Jackson had turned down the Nets pitch and would not be joining the team as coach.