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Phil Jackson says he's leaning toward retirement

Jun 23, 2010, 4:22 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for PJackson3.jpgJust a few minutes before, Kobe Bryant had refused to even discuss the idea of Phil Jackson retiring, calling it a “buzz kill.” Earlier still Derek Fisher wondered if he would come back if Jackson did not.

But right now, Phil Jackson is considering stepping away, which is what he told the media after conducting a series of exit interviews with players. Check out the quotes, via Mike Trudell at

“I’m leaning towards retiring but I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

“Some of it is about health. That’s just the way I’m feeling right now. It’s just something I’m going to sit with.”

“This team is in a good place to (win again). If I’m not here, someone else is going to come in and do the job.”

“I have to sit on it and do the right thing for myself. I wouldn’t say that I’m 95% or 50% sure. This is what I feel right now.”

Jackson said he was going to get more medical tests, then make a decision next week.

The Lakers would have big decisions to make if Jackson steps away. Starting with: Do they step away from the triangle and bring in a coach like Byron Scott, or do they try to keep things basically the same and promote Brian Shaw? If they make a change in style, they will need to shake up some of a roster built to run the triangle.

And that scream you just heard, that was Kurt Rambis realizing if he had stayed one more year he could have coached the Lakers and not the Timberwolves.

  1. the shark - Jun 23, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    What in the hell everybody is talking about. Stop talking about him retiring. All this speculation about him retiring doesn’t have any proof. Everybody knows how PJ work. He may say this then do the other. Its hard enough getting read on him anyway.

  2. willynel - Jun 23, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    “And that scream you just heard, that was Kurt Rambis realizing if he had stayed one more year he could have coached the Lakers and not the Timberwolves.”
    That’s what that was. I thought it was the howl-monkeys from the zoo.

  3. AL - Jun 23, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Ultimately Phil Jackson is going to do whatever he feels like, regardless of what the team wants or the fans or the owner. He is tired,,,no doubt about it, the NBA schedule is tough for him and all coaches and players. He has had two hip surgeries and who knows what else. If he retires fine, Byron or someone else will come in and lead the Lakers but one thing I cannot accept is Phil walking away from the Lakers and going to another team,,,stay on or retire.

  4. Lakers4Lyfe - Jun 23, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    After watching the ESPN special on the Lakers, it’s clear the road travel really takes it’s toll, especially on Phil, who ain’t no spring chicken. The least the Lakers and the rich playboy Buss could do is pay someone to carry his damn luggage … But yea, I think Phil is done, too. The road schedule is just too grueling. Face it, he’s old and his knees and hips look tired.
    And I hope to God they don’t trash the triagle offense or we won’t see another championship for several years while rebuilding for another offense like the fast break. Let Brian Shaw run the show and keep the triangle. Shaw knows what’s up.

  5. the shark - Jun 23, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    I guess its time for the wheel chair roll out. Senior bus is here!!!!
    Oh! maybe not yet. I think he’s gona coach 1 more year for Kobe and Bus and then retire. I agree with ruff trips. This may have took a toll on him this season. He’s probably burning out 2. He’s already an accomplished coach anyway but I wouldn’t be surprise that he’s announcing that he’s retiring. Therefore, if he decide to comeback, anything he gets now is gravy all the way starting from last year.

  6. charlie_magugi - Jun 23, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    let shaw coach the team?!?! I think that’s pretty ridiculous, as soon as they have one loosing streak, no one will listen to him. If they are considering shaw as the head coach, then might as well let kobe do it.

  7. Norma - Jun 23, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    Being a long time Laker fan from Arizona — I wouldn’t mind Byron Scott getting the job if Phil retires.

  8. srh - Jun 23, 2010 at 9:32 PM

    i think if it’s the money issue along with the travel issues, kobe et al should kick in some good faith money to keep phil-the whole team dynamic will be disrupted and anyone who says it won’t is just kidding themselves. “why fix it if it ain’t broken?”

  9. elwin9 - Jun 23, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    Does anyone believe that Jackson is pleased by being asked to take a pay cut after winning 2 championships in a row and 5 of the last 11?

  10. Byron Scott - Jun 23, 2010 at 11:32 PM

    Who says he would have to take a cut? Hey, the dude does look pretty worn out. With nothing left to prove, and his health the issue, why risk that? He should enjoy himself for the rest of his time in this Zen world. He won’t coach anywhere else; Lakers will probably keep him under contract as an “advisor” so if the stink hits the fan he’ll be ready to step in.

  11. Maxi Priest - Jun 24, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    srh, if the owner of your company came by and said your boss may not come back, would you and your co-workers be expected to pass the hat to keep him????? chris rock said in one of his routines “there is a difference between being rich and being wealthy. shaq is rich but the man who pays his check is wealthy”. doc buss needs to quit crying poverty and pay coach jackson whatever it takes. 5 o’brien trophies in the case speak for themselves.

  12. Azucar - Jun 24, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    The bottom line is that it does not matter if he stays or goes. The NBA (David Stern) is thrilled that LA is the top dog again. They are making money in unbelievable amounts. And LA winning it back to back against Boston this time makes LA the number 1 franchise in the Mary Jane Association. Although I respect what Jackson has accomplished, who could not? I still see that he won his 11 rings with the number 1 player (Jordan) and the number 4 player (Bryant) of all time on his teams. Back that up with a supporting cast of hall of famers like Pippen, GM’s like Paxson, top big men like Gasol, and extreme craziness like Artest, Jackson has had it easy. He has not played the games; the players play the games. He just was the ambassador and director who got the credit. It’s just like the movies with directors and actors when one things about recognition. I see Jackson as a non factor.
    And by the way, the number 2 player of all time: Bill Russell while number 3 is Magic Johnson.
    I just wish that the Oakland Warriors would change their darn name to Oakland and we had somebody else besides Rick Barry to represent the Bay Area.
    Sincerely, Azucar

  13. Hoops McCann - Jun 24, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    I heard a local news channel had reported that Magic Johnson flat out said that HE would cover any pay cut Buss had planned to keep Jackson at the helm. And Magic is WEALTHY. Anyone else hear this?

  14. the shark - Jun 24, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    If thats true I’ll believed that any day. Coarse Magic is wealthy too just as u said.

  15. Rick - Jun 24, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    I thought it was Mary Murphy from You Think You Can Dance.

  16. Qman - Jun 24, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Uh..hello? You are all missing the obvious. Mr. Opportunity will somehow find his way to coach the team LeBron is on – Guaranteed. Why work for those rings when you can just jump from superstar to superstar to win them for you.

  17. vietnamvet69 - Jun 24, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    I think that Phil Jackson has definitely earned his retirement from the NBA. Here is a coach who started out playing basketball in North Dakota, then college and then to the New York Knicks where he earned a championship ring. He led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships and now the Lakers to five championships. Why is it that everybody thinks that a man has to coach until they are up in their 70’s or 80’s? Give this man a brake and let him retire in peach, and then wait until his time for induction into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame!!

  18. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    It takes more than excellent players to win championships. Ask Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, etc….etc.
    Great coaches meld talent, calm panic, build egos, keep teams from falling into a funk. They know when and how to get peak performances from ALL the team members at the right time.
    Phil Jackson is one of the best. Jerry Weskirchen

  19. Jerry Weskirchen - Jun 25, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    I have been a solid Laker Fan since I was 12 years old and the Lakers resided in Minnisota; sat through some rough times, “almost’ championship years; put upm with those losses to the hated Celtics, The times most remembered are the great ones. Jerry West has to be the greatest Laker. He had a hand in all the championships in L.A.. Even the last 2…with the drafting of Kobe. Enough said.

  20. Qman - Jun 28, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    You mean Kobe the rapist? Just be glad it wasn’t your daughter eh? LA Fans make me sick, have some morals…woohoo you got a championship because an Ahole who is a rapist just happens to be a good basketball player. I’d rather lose and keep my integrity and respect, but that’s certainly not the LA way.

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