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Report: Raptors ramp up efforts to hire Jackson as president

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TSN.ca Staff
4/30/2013 9:39:40 AM
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With the news on Monday that the Sacramento Kings won't be moving to Seattle, ESPN.com reports that the Toronto Raptors have stepped up their efforts to try to hire Phil Jackson as their new team president.

According to ESPN's sources, the Raptors - now run by new president and CEO of MLSE Tim Leiweke - regarded the Seattle group that was trying to buy the Kings as the biggest obstacle stopping them from courting Jackson's services.

ESPN.com adds that the Raptors will be pursuing Jackson aggressively this week, hoping Jackson can reunite with Leiweke - a former Los Angeles-based sports mogul.

Leiweke was named the top executive of the Toronto-based sports conglomerate on Friday, and made it clear what the immediate focus of his administration will be.

"I don't think it's any secret the emerging question and the first action is going to be the Raptors," said Leiweke on a conference call from Los Angeles. "I wish I had more time. I wish I was (in Toronto) to make this decision. At the same time, we'll do our homework and I'll try to get up to speed as quickly as I can.

"I don't think anyone's happy with the Raptors being out of the playoffs as long as they have. We're going to be very focused on that first and foremost and how to fix it."

ESPN also reports that current Raptors president Bryan Colangelo is scheduled to meet with the MLSE board next week in an effort to convince them to pick up the option year on his contract.

Jackson, 67, has won 11 NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers as head coach.

In an interview last week with the San Francisco Chronicle, Jackson said "three or four teams" have already expressed interest and that "none of it involves coaching."

Phil Jackson (Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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