Cuban welcomes back 'bucket boy' Jackson

DALLAS -- Mark Cuban might be as excited as anybody west of Manhattan to see Phil Jackson working in the NBA again.

“My bucket boy is back,” Cuban kidded, bringing up his favorite term for Jackson during the verbal sparring sessions between the Mavericks’ owner and former Lakers coach.

In all seriousness, Cuban believes the league is better off with Jackson in it, as he is again after accepting a job as the Knicks’ president. Cuban said as much when Jackson retired from coaching -- the Lakers were swept by the Mavs in the 11-time champion coach’s final series -- and has consistently reiterated the point over the last two and a half years.

Jackson, who played forward on the Knicks’ title teams in 1970 and 1973, embracing the challenge of trying to clean up New York’s salary-cap mess and build a contender in the NBA’s biggest media market is especially intriguing.

"It's great just because of the legacy, the pedigree, the questions. Can he do it again?" Cuban said. “He’s won everywhere he’s gone, including his first stop in New York, so can he do it again?”

Does Cuban think Jackson can turn the Knicks into a championship franchise again?

“Hope not,” Cuban said. “As long as they lose the two games that matter.”

Cuban does hope that Jackson is willing to volley back and forth verbally with him again.

"I just hope he’s vocal and picks on me," Cuban said. "It’s been boring without him.

"I’m glad he’s back.”