Jordan wants to come back Jackson's status remains factor, but not the only one


CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls All-Star guard Michael Jordan yesterday said, "I definitely want to play [next year]," making as definitive a declaration he has made about his future, a subject that has been a constant undercurrent to his season.

"I mean under certain circumstances," he said. "I think that's my prerogative to make that choice at all times. If I don't feel it's something I'm happy with, I certainly have alternatives."

Jordan has tied his return to the Bulls to the retention of coach Phil Jackson. Bulls general manager Jerry Krause has said the Bulls would welcome Jordan back, but he has repeatedly said that the current season is Jackson's last with the Bulls, and that the decision was mutual.

Would Jordan interpret Jackson's departure as forcing him out as well?

"It's never forced as long as I've got a choice," he said.

But isn't someone else determining the circumstances of that choice?

"You guys consider that to be a force," Jordan said. "I consider that to be a choice."

What if another team -- the New York Knicks, say -- hires Jackson. Could he end up with him there?

"Naw," Jordan said. "I'm not weighing the options right now. There's no clear options on the table right now. I think everything now is speculation. "I still love the game, the fun of it."

Pub Date: 3/21/98

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