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Phil Jackson, The Orlando Magic And A Strange But Seemingly True Story

The Orlando Magic have created a pretty clean slate for themselves this offseason following the firing of head coach Stan Van Gundy and the parting of ways with general manager Otis Smith. The team is still on the hook for Van Gundy's assistants and still has the Dwight Howard situation to deal with, of course, but everything else is wide open.

Knowing all of that, it kind makes sense that the team was reportedly in talks with Phil Jackson recently about a position within the organization. The Zen Master wouldn't have been the team's head coach, according to the story in the Orlando Sentinel, but he would have brought a lot of credibility to a team that frankly needs some following the recent front office debacles.

Those are the parameters of a Brian Schmitz story breaking the latest Jackson rumors, and while interesting on its own, the whole thing gets much more intriguing when the other characters get involved.

It appears, as long as yours truly is correctly comprehending the story, that former NBA assistant coach turned D-League head coach turned NBA head coach turned Lebanon National Team head coach Sam Vincent was brokering the Zen Master to Orlando deal.

Schmitz never really explains how Vincent got involved but quoted him as saying the deal, "drew some interest from Phil, but in the end, Phil decided to go with another opportunity."

Vincent's involvement was much deeper than just being the Jackson spokesperson, however -- he also had a master plan that would have involved Jackson mentoring the Magic's next head coach (which apparently was going to be, in this scenario, a former NBA All-Star without any previous coaching experience).

Vincent said that Jackson, 66, was intrigued enough by the idea that Vincent and another intermediary were preparing to fly to Jackson's home in Montana to speak with him. And, if the talks went well, they would next approach Howard. That intermediary with Vincent was a former all-star player and Hall of Famer who, in Vincent's plan, was to be the next coach of the Magic. Jackson would help mentor him.

The former player has never coached before, but surrounded by Jackson and a coaching staff including Vincent - former Charlotte Bobcats coach - and a couple of Jackson's former Los Angeles Lakers assistant coaches - Frank Hamblen and Jim Cleamons - the hope was that he could learn on the fly.

Vincent's plan is obviously unlikely to happen now that the Zen Master has bowed out of the running, but it's an interesting story regardless.

Now all we have to do is figure out how Vincent became involved in the Magic's hiring process in the first place.

For more on the Magic, visit Orlando Pinstriped Post and SB Nation Tampa Bay.