Skip to content

Jeanie Buss: "Phil will be coaching next year, somewhere"

Apr 29, 2010, 2:45 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for Jackson_Bryant.jpgForget The Real Housewives of Orange County. Heck, forget the South Fork Ranch and Dallas. The Buss family soap opera is far more delicious and entertaining.

In our latest episode, Jeanie Buss — the daughter with the business mind and the posed-for-Playboy body, who is dating the head coach of daddy’s franchise — told ESPNLosAngeles that Phil Jackson is going to coach next season.

Whether that’s with the Lakers….

“I know Phil will be coaching next year, somewhere. Whether it’s here or someplace else I don’t know,” Buss said. “There’s going to be a lot of good jobs that come up this summer…”

“I know that he can’t just retire,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Honey, what are you going to do? Are you going to help your kids go change diapers and stuff?'”

It’s another preemptive strike from the Jeanie/Phil side of the Lakers power structure, aimed at father Jerry Buss and his son Jim — the appointed heir to the big seat. And the Buss child who has his father’s ear. With this statement, Jeanie and Phil are trying to win over pubic sympathies and put pressure on the family patriarch and Lakers owner to bring Phil Jackson back.

Why wouldn’t he bring back arguably the greatest NBA coach ever? Well, I can give you 12 million reasons.

“I think if they win it’s like a no-brainer he’ll come back because he’ll want to win three in a row,” Jeanie Buss said. “But [if they don’t win], if there isn’t that connection, he would understand.

“Plus, my dad has made it very clear he doesn’t want to pay him what he’s been paying him. So that’s kind of hard, too. You could kind of say, in some jobs, well I’m cutting back your hours. But can you see him cutting back his hours?”

Both Jerry Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak have said Jackson would be welcomed back, but that discussions were on hold until the playoffs were over.

It was Jeanie that brokered Jackson’s return to the Lakers, after he had left and Jim helped select Rudy Tomjanovich to take over. That proved to be a disaster that threatened the financial structure of the Lakers empire, not just making them look bad on the court. Bringing back Jackson mollified angry season ticket holders, but it came with a price tag of $10 million a year. Since then that price has gone up (inflation, you know). But to let a proven winner like Jackson go in the middle of a championship window risks angering fans again. Who are you going to get that’s better?

It’s a family power struggle well suited to a mid-80s soap opera like Dallas. Then again maybe not, it is Los Angeles. Unfortunately for Lakers fans, Patrick Duffy is not going to appear in the shower and say this was all just a dream. This is the Lakers reality.

  1. DreaminBull - Apr 29, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    So let’s say that the Bulls get to D Wade and say. Hey, Dwayne, come back to Chicago, its home. Play with Derrick Rose and we will bring Phil Jackson in to coach. Chances are good that you can win another championship.
    Then they go to Phil and say. Hey Phil, come back to Chicago. Everybody loves you here. You get to coach two superstars who will not only listen to what you say but will also do what you tell them. Chances are good that you can win another championship.
    Now if they could just figure out a way to get P. Gasol………
    pinch me when I need to wake up or if this is even possible!

  2. M.R. - Apr 29, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    Phil Jackson is so overated, he has had the best player ever to play the game and arguably the second best player to play the game. If he is the best coach ever, I want him to go and coach a team like the New Jersey Nets and see what he can do. He is so arrogant, the only reason he would retire is because he can’t coach the Cavs (and Lebron), and doesn’t want fail anywhere else.

  3. ocgunslinger - Apr 29, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    While it would seem to be a no brainer to bring Jackson back if he wants to coach another year (win or lose this year) it seems that sometimes management will sometimes make foolish bottom line decisions. Think about it…..they will lose more than 12 million in revenue if they make a coaching change and do not approach 55-60 wins. (Kobe is still going to be good but he only has a few years left as a premier player). Jackson is not only extremely effective, he is a living legend PLUS he is still respected by the players he coaches. Not an easy task.

  4. John - Apr 29, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    Phil will be back with the Lakers. Count on it. This is just Jeanie posturing for her father. There is no way that Phil leaves as long as Kobe is still playing and there is a chance of another championship. Expect Phil to get the same extension as Kobe. Their futures are intertwined…unless the Lakers sign Lebron, as has been quietly (or not so quietly) rumored. Don’t laugh…they got Wilt, Kareem, Shaq, Kobe, Gasol, etc for nothing but a ham sandwich. Jerry and Co know how to make it happen and don’t think Lebron doesn’t want to become the greatest Laker ever. If magically, that happens…expect Phil to be hear much longer.

  5. Eddie - Apr 29, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    John your on crack? the Lakers? Never.

  6. daniel - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    Really, the most decorated coach in the NBA with Championship rings baby underated. Dude just because you have the best players does not gaurentee anything!! SLOAN is s great coach had one of the greatest point gaurds and Karl Malone still could not win a RING! Look beofer you say something this ignorant you might want to check his stats period!! Unless your just a hater and your team sucks!!! and then Green is your color baby but mine is Purple and Gold!!!! Which by the way has 16 rings and Phil got four of those and the six in chicago so you might want to think before you put foot in mouth! BAMMMMMM!!!

  7. rnmwater - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    So are you saying anybody could coach Mike or Kobe? The 2 biggest ego’s basketball has ever known. A little flash back to 99 Shaq and Kobe coming off yet another playoff sweep to the Jazz, Phil comes in adds a couple of of his guys and win 3 stright titles. Great players know it takes a certain coach to get them where they need to be thats why Kobe puts up with Phil and Shaq lobbied for Phil and later for Riley.

  8. Matt R. - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    And which great coaches won titles without great players?
    I’m pretty sure Riley had two of the greatest players of all time on his teams in LA (Kareem and Magic) and then had Wade and Shaq in Miami.
    Red Aurbach practically had a stranglehold on NBA talent when he won his 9 titles, including arguably the greatest basketball player of all time in Bill Russell.

  9. brian - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    yea, its like the cleveland cavs or the LA lakers now with 7 other NJ nets in the NBA during the celtics’ run. that doesnt count.
    red was taken along for the ride with the (at that time) best 4-8 players in the NBA.
    think about it. that reason established the salary cap. whatever happened to boston’s chances since then?

  10. Bill-Sonora - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    What the hell is wrong with you?!?!

  11. jessie - Apr 29, 2010 at 1:59 PM

    Leave it to the media to change the name “sound business decision” to “family soap opera” in order to generate interest, hence business, for the media themselves.

  12. whoa..what? - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    “…..pubic sympathies……” – that’s a fore(skin)-gone conclusion.

  13. fred i n seattle - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    M.R. just got owned!

  14. fred seattle - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:39 PM


  15. David Velarde Jr. - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    I hope Mr. Buss is a business man, don’t be like Jerry Krause and chase away the coach responsible for the Lakers success. Mr. Krause wanted to save money but it cost him the Bulls dynasty, don’t be a fool, Mr. Buss, keep Phil Jackson in LA. If you don’t then you’re not the astute businessman I thought you were.

  16. Sweetp - Apr 29, 2010 at 2:51 PM


  17. Randall - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    Yeas, I’m sure he’ll leave the comfort of Kobe and the team he’ll be owning one day.

  18. Chris - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    Funny how people are quick to point out how Phil has been blessed with having the greatest talents, trying to make him seem overrated. But yet, never does he get credit for helping mold Jordan, Pippen, Shaq, and Kobe into champions. If Jordan didn’t have Phil, I would bet big money he wouldn’t have won 6 rings, same goes for Kobe and Shaq.
    It’s all about having the right recipe of players, system, coach, and luck. If anything, coaching the best players in the game can make it more difficult to win a championship. I guess anyone could have coached the 90’s Bulls to all those championships then? Please…

  19. Dave Nystrom - Apr 29, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    Phil will coach the team that LeBron ends up playing for. He only knows how to coach teams with “the” superstar. He’s never had to coach mediocre talent in his life. He’s the most over-rated coach ever. Let’s see how he does with the Clippers roster?

  20. Chris - Apr 29, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    You sound like a dumbass!

  21. RockinRick - Apr 29, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    The truth actually probably lies somewhere in between. Yes, it is very difficult to make the leap from very good, say 55-60 wins to the championship. Much more difficult than say going from 30 wins to 45 or 41 wins to 55. Having said that, if I was going to race someone, I would much rather have a Ferrari than a VW Bug. Phil has had arguably the three best players of the last 20 years in Michael (undisputably #1), Shaq (most dominant since Michael)& Kobe (somewhere in there).And today’s NBA game is officiated to favor individual great players over teams with 5 good players that play unselfishly. Just witness how many times Kobe, Wade, or Lebron gets to the line in a given game. This is also one of the reasons we have faltered in international ball in recent years (because it’s officiated with pure B-Ball rules as opposed to playing for the entertainment value like the NBA). As for Brian’s assertion that Auerbach had the 4-8 best players in the league & his championships don’t count, that’s a bunch of crap too. Jerry West & Elgin Baylor were better than anyone on the Celts other than Russell, as was Rick Barry, Wilt Chamberlain, & others. Now there are 32 teams in the league, so the 5th starter on the 32nd best team is the 160th best player in the world. Back when there were 8 teams, the 5th best starter on the 8th team was the 40th best player in the world & the 12th man on the 8th team was the 96th best player in the world, so if anything it was more competitive back then. So how do you compare apples to apples with coaches? Pretty hard to do that, as no situation is equal to another. I hate Phil Jackson, he’s a pompous, arrogant JA (donkey). But it’s difficult to argue that he didn’t get the best out of what he had. Anything less than championships with those players would have to be considered failures. But is he a better coach than Larry Brown or Lenny Wilkens, coaches who have never been blessed with a Ferrari, but have won everywhere they’ve gone, probably also as close to the maximum potential of those teams as anyone could have gotten? I would say no. I could not in good faith say he is unquestionably a better coach than them. However, it’s also tough to argue that they are better than Phil given the number of titles he’s won. (Also in today’s NBA, it must be taken into account how much help one gets from the corrupt referreeing system that’s been in place for the last 20 years & Phil has benefited more than anyone, first with the big market Bulls & then the bigger market Lakers. Probably at least 2-3 of his titles are tainted because of this, read Tim Donaghy’s book. But that’s a topic for another day). So yes, you have to say that he got the most out of what he had, so that does make him an all-time great coach. But better than the others? I believe its difficult to make that leap. But you do have to give the devil his due in this case. Still, as Dave points out, I like many would love to see him coach the Clippers. But that will never happen, due to his age first, but also the fact that he would never lower himself to that. He’s got a tough job this year. Kobe’s hurting whether he admits it or not & everything went their way last year. They were not as dominant a team as people assert. It took them 7 games to beat Houston without McGrady or Yao, another 7 to beat Denver, & while only 5 to beat Orlando, had Courtney Lee made that layup in game 2 & Dwight Howard made only 1 out of 2 free throws with 10 seconds left in game 4 or Fisher missed that 40 footer, Orlando could have been up 3-1 going into game 5. This year is going to be tough & I see a number of teams that can beat them. He may just pack it in if that happens & go back to North Dakota or wherever it is that he goes, as we all know he’s also a very poor & ungracious loser.

  22. davidly - Apr 29, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    @M.R.: You’re probably the kind of person who would say Bryant is overrated if you were blathering in another context.
    @Dave Nystrom: He only knows how to coach teams with “the” superstar? Well he stuck around for almost two whole seasons without Jordan, won his division, and almost got them to the conference finals. Which brings me to…
    @RockinRick: People love to hate and use as grounds ignorant statements without basis in fact. Ungracious? How so? If he were a poor loser, he wouldn’t have stuck around through all the Kobe-wants-to-be-traded crap. He coached some pretty long seasons without a contending team before he got LA back to the finals two years ago.

  23. RockinRick - Apr 30, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    C’mon Davidly, What have you been smoking? In watching the guy for 20 years, not once when he has lost has he made a classy statement to the effect that “X is a great team they deserved it”, “we got beat by a better team”, etc. He always balames injuries, referees (he should have a lifetime ban against ever saying anything about officiating, given that arguably he has benefited more from the NBA’s corrupt officiating system than anyone in history), or some other excuse. And he coached those couple years in LA, due to the fact that he’s waking up next to the bosses daughter, don’t fool yourself. (Prior to the obscene gift of Pau Gasol, wonder whether that was orchestrated by the league office?) It’s obviously very difficult for Bull & Laker fans to acknowledge that one or more of their titles are tainted, but there’s actually documentation to prove it, so get over your front running selves. But really, I’m not sure what you’re saying,as far as saying that I have made “ignorant” statements. As much as I do despise the guy, I give him his due in saying he got the max out of these teams, given that nothing short of a championship would do & he delivered those championships. But I also point out that he’s a condescending, arrogant, poor loser. Anyone who has followed him through the years (and I’ve been an NBA fan since 1970, I’ve even seen him play, can you say that?) can see that. I defy you to give me examples of where he has been a gracious loser. I’m waiting.

  24. DreaminBull - Apr 30, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    Maybe so, but you sound to me like you’re wound a little tight and that you may need to step outside for a cigarette break! Whatever if you evaluate the premise of this article Mr. Helin presumes that Phil wants to come back to LA. That may not be the case as Kobe, regardless of whether they with this year or not, may not be up to championship level play. Even though he is young in total years his NBA time is greater than Jordan’s and maybe his body is just not cooperating. I doubt seriously that Phil is in it for the money but arguably he commands at least as much as the highest paid coach. No he is about winning. Not the Division, Not the Conference but the Championship. While it may be a surprise to you but not to all others, the West is considerably more difficult and appears it will be for the forseeable future. Considering that it has been demonstrated over and over again that it is not just a star player, or star coach or individual star anything that wins championships-it is a combination of team play at all levels and good fortune. Then if you want to win a championship, as it appears that Phil is interested in, he might very well leave the Lakers and move to a team that can at least make the Championship series with the best odds. Considering the possibilities that could occur this summer he may very well want to move to a team in the East. While it may not be the Bulls, there are certainly other teams in the East that will need coaching services and if they can maneuver a championship caliber team…who knows? If the Lakers can land LeBron then all bets are off and Phil stays put.

  25. davidly - May 1, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    Sorry RockinRick, the onus is on you to provide the specific quotes which prove his ungracious nature, though I will admit, that providing gracious statements following his losses would do a lot towards dispelling your assertion.
    Regarding ignorance: Your criticism of Jackson is based solely on your opinion, whereas each time you qualifiedly give him his props it’s based upon his results. You go on to say that he coached those couple of years because of who he was waking up next to. Who was he waking up next to those years before he came back this last time? It’s all speculation on your part.
    But to his record and how much of it is tainted: Do you really think the Celts and Lakers of the 80s, not to mention the Pistons, didn’t benefit from the whistle? As many before me have noted, one of his successful tactics has been to needle the refs during series, and he has done an exceptional job of reminding them of when they blew calls. This has helped his teams win. I wouldn’t expect any coach to say, “Yeah, well, we certainly benefited from bad calls, too.” But you know what? He has.
    And yes, I’ve seen him play. It is precisely his experience as a role-player that has led to his being able to use role-players so well in winning ten championships. He didn’t win with all-stars alone.
    As to what I am smoking? Not very often and not before any of these comments, but when I do, it’s weed. You oughta try it. Maybe you’d lighten up a bit.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2338)
  2. L. James (1984)
  3. K. Irving (1862)
  4. K. Bryant (1803)
  5. A. Davis (1566)