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Phil Jackson says George Karl's illness may impact his return

Jun 27, 2010, 8:45 PM EDT

George Karl is battling throat cancer at the moment. It’s been a terribly painful process, one that forced him to miss the Nuggets’ short-lived playoff run. On top of being, you know, cancer.

Turns out what Karl’s going through is making Phil Jackson think long and hard about his own career.

Jackson was speaking at a conference of Western Governors (being an expert on state policy). When asked about his plans for the future reiterated earlier comments he made after the Finals about not wanting to have to do do the Lakers what Karl was forced to do to the Nuggets, leaving mid-season.

“My concern to be quite blunt, is I don’t want to happen what happened to Denver and George Karl,” Jackson said.

Jackson isn’t comparing his condition to Karl’s, but making it clear that his health is his primary concern. Jackson has said in the past, and stated again at the conference, he’s not going to travel this upcoming season. The wear and tear of road trips is too much for him. The problem is, he also doesn’t want to take a paycut which it’s been rumored the Buss family is seeking for him to return. Coaching half the game while making the same or more money is a deal only a guy with 13 championship rings could demand. Luckily, Jackson has 13 championship rings.

Sure, Jackson doesn’t have cancer. But he’s got his own health problems to consider, and that makes his situation in this particular aspect very much like George Karl’s.

Except it doesn’t.

Because it’s not freaking cancer.

We’ll keep you updated on Phil’s continuing internal struggle being played out in the public sphere.

  1. Kobe - Jun 28, 2010 at 1:51 AM

    Coach has 11 rings, not 13!

  2. Atomsk - Jun 28, 2010 at 3:00 AM

    He has 13. 11 as a coach, and two as a player.

  3. cygnus-x1 - Jun 28, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    yea I can see how traveling first class and then having to sit in a chair on the sideline while standing occasionaly to whistle at his players is hazardous to his health and the same thing as karl having cancer.maybe I would have a little sympathy for the guy if he had actualy taken a team like say the clippers or timberwolves or any team without a superstar and won something.hey I don’t blame buss either,if he wants to be a part time coach then he deserves part time pay!

  4. ocgunslinger - Jun 28, 2010 at 10:16 AM

    I love Phil Jackson and think he is frankly the greatest coach of any sport. That being said if he is physically unable to coach the team then it is time for Rambis to return or Shaw to step up.
    I wish Phil a great retirement when he begins it…..hopefully not until 2012 +.

  5. santi - Jun 28, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    Season ended, take care of health issues
    Season ended, be with family?
    Priorities, Money? 12th championship, personal health or quality family relaltions?
    Ego and Pride over priorities

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