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Report: “Strong” chance Jackson returns to Lakers… if Jim Buss gives up power

Nov 10, 2012, 11:40 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

It comes down to power.

There is a chance Phil Jackson might be walking through those Lakers’ doors. He might be what Lakers fans see as the cavalry coming over the hill (even though in his last season he took the Lakers exactly as far as Mike Brown did in his first one).

But this time Jackson doesn’t want to just be an employee, he wants Jim Buss’ power. And that prince may be too high. Here is the story from Ric Bucher of

There is a scenario in which former Lakers coach Phil Jackson would consider returning for a third stint with the team, sources said late Friday, but it will require executive VP Jim Buss once again relinquishing the organizational reins – and this time handing them to Jackson, rather than back to GM Mitch Kupchak.

One source described the possibility of Jackson returning, should a suitable offer be made, as “strong.”

Remember that Jackson and the Lakers didn’t part ways on the best of terms. Jackson and Jim Buss had their power struggles, and when Jackson left Buss purged traces of him from the organization — long-time assistant GM Ronnie Lester and much of the scouting staff was fired, for example. It went deeper than that. Brown was brought in by Jim Buss to put his stamp on the organization — he didn’t want Brian Shaw and continuity, he wanted to show he could run this team.

With that background, it always seemed unlikely to me Jackson would return. It is about power and ego (not to mention an 8-figure salary). Yet, Phil Jackson to the Lakers seems to have momentum. First, came the reports he was high on the Lakers list and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said with Jackson “not coaching you’d be negligent not to be aware” and at least consider it. There is a report from Rotoworld about Jackson meeting with the Lakers last week (he was often around Lakers offices to visit Jeannie Buss). Dwight Howard reportedly wants Jackson and Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and others spoke highly of him at the Lakers game Friday night (a win).

Now he might be willing to take it, but the price is power. And that power, if Jim Buss gives it up, could shift more to Jeannie Buss — Jackson’s girlfriend and the business-savvy daughter of Jerry Buss who runs the Lakers business side of the operations (Jim has the basketball side).

It’s a Shakespearian drama playing out around the Lakers. But Jackson to the Lakers could happen.

The Lakers also are reportedly going to talk to Mike D’Antoni, the former Suns and Knicks coach. This also seems an odd fit despite Steve Nash being on the team because this roster does not fit his seven-seconds-or-less style. Plus, he just had knee replacement surgery in the last three weeks and is not exactly going to be up and around for at least another month.

  1. luckysunday20 - Nov 10, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Not a Lakers fan but hopefully Dr Buss gives Phil the power he so desires. His son sounds like a real prick for purging every trace of one of the greatest coaches of all time then hiring Mike Brown to replace him to “leave his stamp”.

    • jayquintana - Nov 10, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      Regardless of whether they bring back Phillip, it’s time for Jimmy to be reassigned. Perhaps he could be in charge of what flavor the Gatorade should be.

  2. sun602 - Nov 10, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Phil just has a knack for always being around when one of the best teams in the league needs a job doesn’t he….

    • sun602 - Nov 10, 2012 at 11:59 AM


    • ron05342 - Nov 10, 2012 at 5:48 PM

      Hmmmm….with all the talent the Lakers have had since 1996 (if you are counting, that is 16 years), only one coach in all that time has won them five championships.

      Maybe you can guess who that is.

  3. soflasfinest - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    I don’t see baby buss allowing this. Unless daddy comes along and flexes his muscle. Hmm giving your son the reigns and then taking them back to hire phil or leaving the choice up to the son. Decisions, decisions…

    • gmen4life33 - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM

      “And that prince may be too high”

      True. I wonder if Kurt made another typo, or was referring to Jim (the prince) being too high to run the Lakers

      • miamatt - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:50 PM


  4. rj2323 - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Give it up brah

  5. davidschap - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    This is getting dumb.

  6. reupjosh - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Definitely a “high prince to pay.” Dude… Hire a proof reader. PLEASE!!!

  7. ncm42 - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    @ reupjosh…TRUTH

  8. mrheavychevy - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    Give Phil what he wants equals happy players the triangle offense & championships we kno this

  9. ihavenonickname - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    What does giving the power to PHIL really mean?? He gets to pick his assistant coaches? He gets to make trades? He names his price? He pics the half entertainment?

  10. manchestermiracle - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Jerry’s no dummy. If the price for getting Phil to put this team right is throwing his son under the bus, so be it. Jerry’s about winning, always has been. Maybe Jim just needs a few more years to mature and learn a bit more about running a club. Then again, maybe Jim just doesn’t have what it takes. One thing is certain: Jerry won’t leave Jim in charge just because he’s his son.

    • davidly - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      But that’s what he did.

      • manchestermiracle - Nov 10, 2012 at 4:47 PM

        That response makes no sense. We haven’t gotten to the point where Dad has to choose between Phil and his own son. Did you even read the article? Jim picked Brown as coach, Brown didn’t work out, now Phil might agree to coach IF he gets the control Jim now has. Understand? Jerry might have to choose between leaving his son in charge and the chance to re-hire Jackson. If Jerry ends up having to choose my opinion is that he’ll go with winning, where Jackson is a proven commodity, rather than pure nepotism. Clear enough?

    • davidly - Nov 11, 2012 at 6:44 AM

      You’re missing the point. We have/ gotten to the point where Dad chose his son over Phil. It is no mystery that PJ left the organization as much as the coaching position. The only reason Jim B. is in charge is because his father didn’t see fit you promote Jackson from within, but succumbed to his son’s desire to take them in a different direction.

      Whether or not Jerry Buss rectifies that is yet to be seen.

  11. rickeydynamite25 - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Whoever takes over will be an upgrade, and though I’d prefer Phil, D’Antoni is not that bad of a consolation prize because he’d actually run a NBA offense instead of an ivy league gimmick.

  12. cantonbound13 - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    He already gave Phil his daughter, what else does he want?

  13. btwicey - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Crap rumors can be written when “sources” say it…. Moving on. Poor form from hardbballtalk for the past 24hrs. 3,433 stories about the lakers

    • manchestermiracle - Nov 10, 2012 at 4:49 PM

      Hardball talk is about baseball. This is about basketball. I can see why you’re confused. Of course, the easy way to not have to read posts about the Lakers is to not click on the ProBasketballTalk icon.

  14. libertynchurch - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Its all a big show to get Howard to sign-up. Kupchak knows that his starters wont have much left when the playoffs start. Retooling, Laker style.

  15. fanz928 - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Typical family battle. Why would Jim buss give up anything? It’s his business I wouldn’t be surprise if Jim buss hires d antoni, maybe he would consider Larry brown?

    • ron05342 - Nov 10, 2012 at 5:50 PM

      LOL Jerry, the father, owns 51% brah.

      It’s not Jim’s business. Daddy can cut Jim-Boy off at the knees if he so chooses.

  16. lakerfan4life - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    I say it’s time to give Phil more power within the Lakers organization. This is the 3rd time that the Lakers have come begging Phil to save them, and after each time he has done it, the Lakers organization turns on him like a pit bull!

    The 1st time he came, and took them to 4 NBA Finals in 4 years, winning 3 of them. After that they were like “OK, Phil, thanks, now get the ‘F’ out!”. Then a year later they come crying again “Phil, save us?”, which he does, taking them to 3 championships in 4 years, winning 2 of them. After that again, it’s “Thanks Phil, now get the ‘F’ out!”. Now a year later it’s “Phil, save us?”

    I think it’s time for them to give him a financial interest in the team. After he leaves the coach’s chair this time, he can help guide them forward so he doesn’t have to keep coming back as the only coach who can save them.

    • luvsheat - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      Don’t compare Pit Bulls to that idiot jimmy boy buss. Pit Bulls are actually extremely smart

  17. bigrele - Nov 10, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Yea yea bring Phil back, still not going to make any difference in the outcome of this season; they ain’t winning no championship whether Phil comes back or not, Phil don’t play on the floor, Phil can’t change the fact they have NO bench, Phil can’t change the fact Howard still is not 100% & not the same defensive player post-herniated disk surgery, can’t change the fact Nash is going on 39 years old with bad back, and now his knee & can’t play defense better than me & I suck at basketball & finally as good as Kobe was, he ain’t THAT explosive player anymore. Kobe is old (basketball mileage & years) & not good enough anymore to lead this team to a title. So YEAH I say great! I hope Phil does come back lol! It’ll make their defeat come 1st round (if they even make it to the playoffs, they ain’t even the 3rd of 4th best team in the West in my eyes) that much more better so I can say again for the 3rd year in the row: there will be NO LAKER championship anytime regardless if Dwight stays or not. They too damn old & broken & no supporting cast to win an NBA championship, bottom fukkin line! So keep flapping your fukkin lousy pathetic desperate gums Laker lovers, I’ve so much enjoyed this EARLY season so far, leave it to the Lakers to give us this much laughter & enjoyment 6 games into the NBA season lmao!!!!!!!!! :oD

  18. lew24 - Nov 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Jim Buss is Tommy Boy! He has proven that his “stamp” on the organization is flawed! Drop you ego Jimmy Boy and hire Phil!

  19. allen227 - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Until Phil can buy a team, he doesn’t need all the power. He’s a coach not an owner.

  20. jimeejohnson - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    It’s big news when a team stocked with stars plays horribly and the coach gets axed. It’s even bigger news if the coach with the most championships ever would consider coming out of retirement to coach, again. Ad the fact that it’s Los Angeles, one of the biggest media markets in the world, and you’re going to get a ton of stories about it. I’m not a Lakers fan or hater, but I love avocados and they grow great avos in Southern California. You are intrigued by the idea of Phil Jackson returning if you are a fan of the NBA, and you are salivating a little more if you are Jack Nicholson.

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:43 PM

      Ad = And

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