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Lakers meet with Phil Jackson, job is his if he wants it

Nov 10, 2012, 7:06 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson answers questions at a post-game news conference following Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference semi-final basketball playoff against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas Reuters

The Lakers and Phil Jackson sat down on Saturday to discuss the team’s head coaching vacancy, according to multiple reports. While no job offer was made at the conclusion of the talks, the understanding is that the job is Jackson’s to have if he decides he wants it.

There are plenty of other wrinkles and odds and ends surrounding the situation, so let’s hit the bullet points:

– The meeting took place with Lakers VP Jim Buss, reports Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times. This is significant because it’s believed an organizational power struggle between the two was one of the reasons Jackson stepped down a couple of seasons ago. Whatever issues they may have had in the past do not appear to be in the way of Jackson returning to coach the team.

– No other head coaching candidates have been contacted yet, as the Lakers appear focused on doing everything they can to land Jackson, reports Sam Amick of USA Today.

– Mike D’Antoni, Nate McMillan, and Mike Dunleavy are believed to be the candidates on the list below Jackson in some order, and the team may interview them while Jackson is in the decision-making process, in case he ends up declining.

– There is no timetable for Jackson to make his decision yet, but the longer it goes on, the talks with other potential candidates will intensify. Remember, the reason the Lakers pulled the trigger on Brown when they did was because they wanted to right the ship as quickly as possible; letting the permanent head coaching chair remain vacant for too long will somewhat defeat the purpose.

– Jackson has already reached out to former assistant coaches to gauge their interest in joining him back on the bench. Kurt Rambis, Jim Cleamons, and Frank Hamblen are believed to be the ones Jackson would want by his side, and the Lakers organization doesn’t have a problem with that.

– The main thing that Jackson may be weighing is the extensive and frequent travel required during the long regular season. His health is reportedly fine, but he’s grown tired of the grueling routine as he’s advanced in his years. In seasons past with the Lakers there were talks of him skipping certain road trips and letting a lead assistant coach the team while he stayed home, but that never became a reality. It may be part of the deal this time if Jackson ultimately takes the job.

We’re in wait-and-see mode at this stage, but all signs point to Jackson and the Lakers working out a deal at some point, given the amount of mutual interest in bringing the Hall of Fame head coach back to Los Angeles.

  1. lakerluver - Nov 10, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    This is what separates the LAKERS from every other team. Nothing else matters except winning titles.

    • letangusespertplus - Nov 10, 2012 at 7:52 PM

      forgot to put /buying

      • ron05342 - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:37 PM

        Yeah, as I said in other blog posts, only morons like you just don’t get it…the Lakers TRADED for or already had their assets all in place.

        Why is this simple concept so hard for you to understand?

    • thenoblefacehumper - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:48 PM

      Good to see you again. You’ve been awfully quiet lately. Wonder why.

    • crackrocksandotterpopz - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:29 PM

      I have a question for you…why is it that whenever you write the word Lakers, you capitalize every letter? Wheneve I read that, I hear it like you’re saying LAAAAKERS…like the episode of south park when cartman gets a sega dreamcast, and everytime he mentions it, he pronounces it as SEEEGA DREAMCAST…LOL. totally irrelavant, but its been on my mind for a while…

    • tfoz5150 - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:39 AM

      How ’bout those del Harris years?

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        Don’t forget those Pfund years in the 90’s.

        Then again, the 90’s belonged to the Chicago Bulls. All other teams had to suffer through that.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:29 AM

        Now that you mentioned Del Harris. He had Shaq and Kobe, plus van Exel and Jones.

        4 All-Star Lakers. No rings.

        Then came Jackson.

        We know what happened next.

      • uscthom78 - Nov 11, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        How about those Magic Johnson / Kurt Rambis days.

  2. lakerluver - Nov 10, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Well, every other NBA team, that is.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 10, 2012 at 10:00 PM

      The difference is, the Lakers franchise ACTUALLY does something about it. Those 16 banners tell a lot about the franchise.

  3. money2long - Nov 10, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    jackson wants, not only to be the lakers head coach, but he wants to have a big role in how the organization is run. if he is rehired, jim buss must have an understanding of this. he wanted to move away from anything jackson related a few years ago. yes, they had a meeting together, but i hope jim buss realizes that he will not just be hiring a coach, but a guy who has input in vital decisions for the organization and which direction it heads in during his time there.

    in fact, didn’t phil even consider a general manager position? he isn’t bottling up his prospects as just head coach. he wants to have say. he wants power. i don’t see anything wrong with that, because i trust phil, and his resume speaks. not everyone who has expectations to win, does it. phil has done his job admirably, and i think he deserves the promotion ,if you want to call it that.

    phil isn’t a long term solution however. he has gone back and forth with retiring for a many of reasons, and the grind of travel is one of them. that issue may be a stipulation in negotiations.

    • davidly - Nov 11, 2012 at 6:47 AM

      Exactly. With the exception of his first return to the bench, this is not unlike the power struggle Jackson went through in Chicago. He coached a dynasty and wanted a promotion.

      I’d be seriously surprised if he returned just to coach what is surely not going to be a championship this year. It’s a no-win for him.

      They should make him a GM with the right to hire his own coach.

  4. rickeydynamite25 - Nov 10, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Welcome back,, welcome back,, wel-come back.

    • badintent - Nov 11, 2012 at 1:00 AM

      Ya, ya, I’m back. The Terminator ! I’m tired of flying back and forth from Montana to see my girl in LA. I’ll terminate the NBA and hit Kobe with the champange bottle right over his head.Might knock some sense it to him.

      I’m Arnold and I approved this message.

  5. lakerluver - Nov 10, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    The main reason why he didn’t like flying was because it was too hard on his body. However, now he’s healthier than he’s been in quite some time…..Jim Buss is aware of Phil’s demands. I don’t think he would’ve approached Phil if he wasn’t prepared to do whatever it takes to bring him back…….No, Phil’s not the long-term solution. Everybody knows that. I’m hoping B. Shaw can get out of his contract in the off-season and become Phil’s main assistant for a season than take over once Phil retires from coaching for good. In hind site he should’ve gotten the job over Brown. Byron Scott or Rambis would also be good choices. Probably Scott more so than Rambis.

  6. bcjim - Nov 10, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    PHIL Jacko gets a lot of credit for winning with loaded rosters.

    Count me unimpressed with his shtick.

    • mytthor - Nov 10, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      OK, counting. That’s 1 idiot…

    • ron05342 - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:40 PM

      If you are unimpressed with Jackson winning titles with the Lakers, then you have not been paying attention.

      In the sixteen years that the Lakers have had so much talent (Bryant, O’Neal, Gasol, Bynum, Howard, just to name a few), only one coach has won titles in that time.

      You get one guess, Mr. Unimpressed.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      How many rings has Jordan got without Phil?

      How many rings has Kobe got without Phil?

      Sure they’re loaded. But it takes a special kind of coach to manage those loads of talent.

      • crackrocksandotterpopz - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:34 PM

        Phil Jackson could probably coach the Bobcats to respectability…

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM

        Not just loads of talent by the way.

        I failed to mention mega egos.

        It takes greatness to be respected by fellow greats.

        When people like Michael,Pip, Shaq, Kobe, ARTEST AND RODMAN listen and follow you, you must be doing something really great.

      • tfoz5150 - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:45 AM

        Horsecrap! You got Spolestra getting a ring in miami. If he could win there, any coach could get a ring there. Same for those Laker/Bulls teams. I would just like to see Jackson try it with a team that’s not loaded..oh, yeah he did and he’s lost everytime. I guess Kukoc was no Jordan. Pippen just wasn’t the same either.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:23 AM

        In that case, Spoelstra should have gotten two rings by now.

    • 24thesho - Nov 11, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      Oh yeah, you mean like…., the 1980s Lakers with Magic, Kareem, Worthy, or the 1960s Celtics with Russell and a ton of other HOFers caliber players, or the 1980s Celtics with Bird Parish and McHale? I’m confused. What is your point again?

  7. hoodheisman - Nov 10, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Credit to Jim Buss for his willingness to delegate authority to those that demand it in an effort to put winning above everything else. I don’t think this is something he was willing to do a couple years ago. The fact that he’s willing to do so now illustrates how far he’s come along. Both he and Kupchak get my vote for front office of the year.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:10 PM

      I truly hope so.

      Hopefully it’s not because the younger Buss had his arm twisted to force him to accede to the idea of having PJ back.

  8. thekingdave - Nov 10, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Man can they just let go of the drama already? Everyone knew this was a done deal the moment Brown was canned 5 games in as opposed to the offseason. Drop the prima donna crap.

  9. lakerluver - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Funny, I never hear that said about Red. How many HOF’ers did he coach? P.J. is “arguably” the greatest coach ever in any sport.

    • eerock41 - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:26 PM

      phil has never had to coach a team with out michael or kobe. Both probably the best players ever. Now to come back to a team with kobe, coward, and nash. It is a lose/lose for phil. If they win, well they were suppose to. If they lose people will question his coaching abilities. I would like to think of phil as the best ever, but if he comes out of retirement and they lose, then he looks a lot like bret farve.

      • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:11 PM

        How were Michael and Kobe when Phil wasn’t around?

        Yup. I thought so.

      • manchestermiracle - Nov 10, 2012 at 10:18 PM


        The Bulls won 57 games in ’93 before Jordan took a year and a half off to play baseball (badly).

        The Bulls won 55 games in ’94 without Jordan, but lost in the conference semifinals. They won 47 in ’95 and, despite Jordan returning just before the playoffs, were again bounced in the conference semifinals.

        Phil Jackson coached the Bulls from ’89 to ’98, so he has in fact coached a team without Jordan or Bryant.

  10. eerock41 - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Of course Phil will come back. It is a cheap way for him to get another ring, at least on paper. If he is such a great coach go coach a small market team and take them to a championship. No that would be really impressive, not coming back to coach a team that is trying to just buy a championship.

    • ron05342 - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:42 PM

      Again, I will address each dimwit that says the Lakers are trying to “buy” a championship.

      Bryant, Gasol, Howard, and Nash were all acquired by a trade. You know, dimwit, where one team gives up valued assets for another.

      This ain’t the Yankees. None of these guys were free agents. Trades.

      Do you understand now?

    • crackrocksandotterpopz - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:37 PM


    • mytthor - Nov 11, 2012 at 12:44 AM

      This is such a BS argument. The Lakers are NOT the Yankees. They spend the most money, but it’s still within the same constraints everyone else has. They’re not 3 times as much as everyone else, they have a very skilled front office and are a desirable destination largely because of their past successes. The Lakers earn what they get.

      • 1historian - Nov 11, 2012 at 8:17 AM

        I hate L.A. with a quiet intensity, but I’ve gotta give you a thumbs up.

  11. dpeter11 - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    If Fill says no, I heard Bobby Valentine is available.

  12. blueintown - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    Phil Jackson really brings out the stupid on these boards. The man has 11 rings. Keep bashing him, mouthbreathers.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      Hey, someone has to take the dirty job and be assigned as bottomfeeders in the grand pecking order of things. LOL!

  13. iamjimmyjack - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Dream come true for me and millions of laker fans.

  14. jerdogthompson - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    I said it once I will say it again. Any Laker fan hoping, betting or fantasizing about Zen Master returning will be sorely, repeat sorely disappointed. Mark this. Over.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 10, 2012 at 10:06 PM

      Duly noted.

  15. thelakeshow562 - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:46 PM


  16. thechock305 - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    I get it but, don’t you think at some point you’re going to need some fresh blood to get it done beyond this year. Kind of what Riley did with Spolestra?

  17. eugenesaxe - Nov 10, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    He’d only have Kobe/Nash for two guaranteed years, and both are breaking down. howard isn’t even signed beyond this season, and not the sort of player to lead a team. Is that the sort of situation Jackson wants to take over?

    • mytthor - Nov 11, 2012 at 12:45 AM

      I guess we’ll find out.

    • eventhorizon04 - Nov 11, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      …..Probably, since he’s already putting out names for a future coaching staff.

  18. nlruizjr - Nov 10, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    yeah, I would love to see come back and fall flat on his face because PJ has never coached a team from scratch to a championship, he’s always inherited teams that have been built up by other coaches and that has acquired young promising talent ala MJ, shaq, Kobe, etc., give PJ an average team and his coaching techniques would show just how weak he is in coaching, makes me laugh how all you idiots fall for how great this guy is, why do you think PJ left when he did because he know that the Lakers talent resource was getting old and he didn’t see any new promising talent coming in, like I said this guy is a coat-tail coach, he has 11 titles but it sure hasn’t anything to do with his coaching abilities, g. Karl, J. Sloan, G. Popavich, etc. etc. could have accomplished the same thing if they had the talent that PJ inherited, the guy just knows timing, when to get in and when to get out but I would love to see him come back and let all Laker fans find out what coaching abilities PJ has without tex winter, the master of the triangle. his other assistants have had a chance to coach the lakers but they didn’t last one season, with Jackson back I see them going as far as the 2nd round of the playoffs, hell Mike Brown could have done that, if given the time.

  19. letangusespertplus - Nov 10, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Here’s the thing, we know Phil can win with Kobe and a few bigs. The question is what do the Lakers do if Phil doesn’t come back, or he can’t repeat his success? Do they fire Phil? Do they start blaming Gasol again? Who coaches after that? Keep living in the past LA. This doesn’t make your team younger or bench any better. You may get a few more wins in the regular season, that’s about it.

  20. lakerluver - Nov 10, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    The fact that non-LAKER fans are commenting on this story only proves that they’re worried about the possibility of Phil returning. The greatest coach ever, and a healthy Nash, will do wonders for the LAKERS.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 11, 2012 at 12:23 AM

      As Geena Davis would say, “… Be afraid. Be very afraid.” LOL!

    • letangusespertplus - Nov 11, 2012 at 12:39 AM

      Mavs didn’t seem too scared of Phil and the Lakers and a 2 years younger Kobe.

  21. mattypbillsmafia - Nov 10, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Phil’s gotta b the most overrated coach ever… The only time he thinks about coaching nowadays is when he’s got a loaded roster. I can coach that team, my words of wisdom to my players, hey you’re better than everyone just go show it. Prove how good you are Phillip, go coach the magic. I’m sure they’d give you full control over everything. Or if you wanna stay on the west coast, how bout a team like the trail blazers? Don’t go to a team everyone expects to b in the finals. Clown. Basketball sucks n e ways

  22. lakerwoman - Nov 10, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    bcjim, you’re an idiot.

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 11, 2012 at 3:00 AM

      Welcome to PBT, lakerwoman

  23. lawyermalloy - Nov 11, 2012 at 4:53 AM

    I believe this is a lock. If i’m not mistaken, he has 9 championship rings; there’s nothing quite like a 10th to compleat a pair if gloves!

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 11, 2012 at 5:53 AM

      9 Championship rings? That’s Red Auerbach. Last I checked, Phil Jackson had 11 already.

    • eventhorizon04 - Nov 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      ….Just started following the Lakers recently?

  24. mdac1012 - Nov 11, 2012 at 6:40 AM

    Red Auerbach didn’t have great, great teams? Did I miss the championship that Pat Riley won with a team of nobodies? I guess Greg Popovich has been winning with scrubs this whole time.

    As a Knicks fan, I hate Phil Jackson, but anyone who is unimpressed by what he has accomplished doesn’t have a clue.

  25. omniusprime - Nov 11, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    It is just too funny that Jimmy the Buss Boy has to eat some serious crow and humble pie before going to Phil Jackson with hat in hand to beg Phil to come back and undo all the damage that the little idiot boy caused. I’m glad that Jeanie Buss was able to connive, seduce, Phil into talking with her idiot brother. I hope that the little Buss Boy has learned his lesson that he was so arrogant and ignorant to try to make his mark on the Lakers by wiping out Phil’s awesome legacy of 5 championships there.

    I sure hope Phil takes the job because D’Antoni is an idiot who’s biggest idea is the premature ejaculation offense that never won anything. I remember Mike Dunleavy being totally incompetent during his tenure as a Laker coach. Nate McMillen was a joke of a coach at Portland, why on earth would the Lakers want this perennial loser coaching the Lakers?

    No matter what it takes the Little Buss Boy and Kupcake have to make Phil happy. If that means Phil bringing back his old coaching squad so be it. If it means Phil bringing back the Triangle offense so be it. If it means he takes off some road game trips so be it, his assistants can get the job done winning on the road. As long as Phil can coach all the playoff games that’s all the Lakers need to win two more championships on Phil’s two year contract. Go Phil Jackson!!! Go Lakers!!! I love being a Laker fan!!!

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