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Phil Jackson admits he will take a pay cut if he returns

May 19, 2010, 8:00 PM EDT

Phil Jackson may or may not come back as the Lakers coach — but if he does it will not be at the $12 million salary he made this season.

“Yes, it has been indicated there will be a pay cut,” Jackson said before Game 2 of the Lakers/Suns Western Conference Finals.

Thumbnail image for pjackson.jpgESPN’s Michael Wilbon went on his PTI buddy Tony Kornheiser’s radio show today and said that he was told the cut will be all the way down to $5 million next season. Jackson dodged all talk of specific numbers.

“It’s still a ridiculous salary whatever it is,” Jackson said almost under his breath.

Jackson has hinted before that he expected a pay cut to be needed, but questioned whether he would take it, at one point asking a reporter, “would you?” But it is less about money — he has more than enough — and ultimately about whether or not he is enjoying himself. Whether he can physically put up with the rigors of a long season of travel again, and whether he wants to.

Jackson indicates he has not decided if he will return next year, saying Monday he is not leaning either way at this time. As was discussed earlier today, he is comfortable in Los Angeles and he is almost certain to stay here or retire. Most people close to Jackson think he will return.

But predicting Jackson is a foolish enterprise. All we know for sure is he will not be making $12 million next year.

  1. ??? - May 20, 2010 at 12:28 AM

    WHO CARES?

  2. D. Sterling - May 20, 2010 at 12:55 AM

    Clippers fan, right?

  3. Gary - May 20, 2010 at 3:03 AM

    How can the Lakers justify not paying Phil Jackson 12 million per year? I could see if he wasn’t producing championships, but the guy has coached this franchise in the post season on a consistent basis. With all the television rights and extra money off of playoff tickets, will it all be worth it if Phil leaves and L.A. begins to miss the playoffs again?? It’s simple business logic. If Buss really wants to save money, why not buy out Odom and Famar’s contracts along with that Walton Kid? It seems like Buss always wants to be the “Man” and he’s jealous of Phils success. Just like Jordan and the Bulls in the 90’s it basically came down to the owners no longer wanting to write the check to pay these guys. It seems like certain ownerships love the power of destroying or stopping what nobody else can, so they dismantle or hold back a dynamic team. If i’m the Bulls owner in the 90’s i give Jordan and pippen Lifetime contracts along with Phil, i cross my feet, thank my lucky stars i have such amazing talent on my team, and i sign every endorsement/sponsorship/naming rights deals i can, and re-negotiate my t.v. contracts to maximize revenue streams! Same with the Lakers in present day, just set aside 36 million for Phil and go about your day. I’m sure Phil may go for 7.5 or 10 mil…but 5 is just insulting.

  4. PAY PHIL! - May 20, 2010 at 4:33 AM

    Before Phil Jackson came to L.A., the Lakers would be knocked out of the playoffs in the first round! Kobe and Shaq just couldn’t get it done. But THE FIRST YEAR Coach Jackson took over, we win the championship! And we’ve won gone to the finals 7 out of the last 10 years. Like KGB said in the movie ‘Rounders’….”Pay that man his mon-ey.”

  5. davidly - May 20, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    Why is it, when you see most wins by an NBA coach, the regular season and playoffs are always listed seperately?
    All-time is all-time:
    Wilkens – 1412
    Nelson – 1410 and counting
    Riley – 1381
    Jackson – 1317 and counting
    Sloan – 1288 and counting
    Brown – 1189 and counting?

  6. bill perry - May 20, 2010 at 7:34 AM

    Use the extra money from his salary to buy some playing talent. The current Lakers are getting old and new new blood

  7. Anonymous - May 20, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    What series are you watching?

  8. davidly - May 20, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    That’s one way to look at it. Living in the moment, however, you could say they are just as old as they need to be. They got Artest in the off-season, and so far it seems to be paying dividends.
    If they win it all this year, who’s to say that they can’t continue with the same type of shoring up for another year? I mean, look what unloading all of that “old blood” did to the Bulls in ’98. The might’ve won another title. Wouldn’t it have been worth it?

  9. Omnius - May 20, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Owner Jerry Buss should pay Phil Jackson handsomely, not cut his pay by 50%! Phil has earned his keep in LA winning us Laker fans 4 championships, with a 5th in sight very soon.

  10. Lion Woods - May 20, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Phil Jackson is definitely worth the money. A pay cut from $12 million is probably okay for Phil considering his girlfriend runs the Lakers. What can’t you accomplish off the court with say $8,000,000 than you can with $12,000,000 in a season? I do feel the Phil is the man for the Lakers as long as he wants to do the job. I would definitely try to maintain Phil in the organization. As far as bill perry’s comments above? Are you brain dead or just a little slow?

  11. Lion Woods - May 20, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Phil Jackson is definitely worth the money. A pay cut from $12 million is probably okay for Phil considering his girlfriend runs the Lakers. What can’t you accomplish off the court with say $8,000,000 than you can with $12,000,000 in a season? I do feel the Phil is the man for the Lakers as long as he wants to do the job. I would definitely try to maintain Phil in the organization. As far as bill perry’s comments above? Are you brain dead or just a little slow?

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