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Report: Raptors set to increase pursuit of Phil Jackson

Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson

LUCY NICHOLSON/REUTERS

Seattle's loss could turn out to be Toronto's gain.

According to ESPN.com, the Toronto Raptors have ramped up their pursuit of Phil Jackson to be their new team president. The former coaching guru had been linked to the Seattle group which was trying to move the Sacramento Kings to the Pacific Northwest. But now that the Kings appear to be staying in Sacramento, the Raptors front office position could be enough to entice Jackson north of the border.

Jackson's longstanding relationship with newly hired Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment CEO Tim Leiweke is cited as one reason Toronto is once again firmly back in the Jackson sweepstakes. Prior to Leiweke's hiring, Jackson had also been linked to the CEO position within the Toronto sports conglomerate.

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Other published reports indicate Jackson is also interested in a senior advisory role within a team.

Jackson, who won 11 NBA championships as a coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, confirmed last week that three to four teams have expressed an interest in him and that none of the offers involved coaching.

Current Raptors president Bryan Colangelo is scheduled to meet with the MLSE board in the next few weeks to determine his future with the franchise. He has an option year remaining on his contract.

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