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NBA: Jackson turns down Magic

The SportsXchange

Phil Jackson reportedly has bowed out of an opportunity to join the Orlando Magic in a front office position.

Sam Vincent, who played for the Magic as well as Jackson, presented a scenario that appealed to Magic CEO Alex Martins, the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday.

However, before Martins could discuss the proposal with Magic owner Rich DeVos, Jackson withdrew from consideration Thursday night.

"It drew some interest from Phil," Vincent said. "But in the end, Phil decided to go with another opportunity."

Martins commented Thursday to the Sentinel in an email.

"Not because of this specific situation, but because I have been consistent during the search that I won't comment on specific candidates," Martins said in an e-mail. "I stand by my statement that we will put a premium on searching for Championship experience in the positions within in our search."

Jackson has won 11 NBA titles as a coach, six with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Vincent said Jackson, 66, wants back in the NBA, but prefers not to coach. The Magic opportunity would have put him in a team president/general manager position, Vincent said.

The Magic fired general manager Otis Smith and coach Stan Van Gundy last Monday. It was part of a tumultuous season that included a trade demand by center Dwight Howard and friction between the team's star and the front office.

Since Smith became general manager in 2006, the Magic had the greatest run of success in franchise history and reached the NBA Finals for the second time in their history. In 2010, Smith was given the additional title of president of basketball operations.

Van Gundy, 51, served as coach for five years and compiled a 259-135 regular-season record. His teams made the playoffs five times and won three division titles and one Eastern Conference championship.

The new GM will have the opportunity to hire the next coach, Martins said.

--Former NBA star Orlando Woolridge, 52, died Thursday night because of complications from a chronic heart condition.

Woolridge, who played 15 pro basketball seasons, was pronounced dead at his parents' Mansfield, La., home.

He had been under hospice care, Desoto Parish Chief Deputy Coroner Billy Locke said.

The 6-9 Woolridge averaged 16.0 points and 4.3 rebounds a game. He was first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls and later played for the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers from 1981-94. He also played in Italy for Benetton Treviso and Buckler Bologna.

Woolridge was second-team all-American as a senior at Notre Dame, which he helped lead to the 1978 Final Four.

After he retired, Woolridge went into coaching. He was the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA for two seasons (1998-99) and coached two American Basketball Association franchises.

His career was marred by a 1987-88 suspension for substance abuse.

Also, DeSoto Parish deputies said in February, Woolridge was arrested for theft of more than $1,500 for stealing aluminum water lines.
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