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Doc Rivers rips Lakers for “embarrassing” Phil Jackson

Nov 21, 2012, 10:59 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant And Phil Jackson Address The Media Getty Images

Generally a good rule of thumb is that if you’re the coach of the Boston Celtics you shouldn’t comment on the Lakers coaching search. It’s pretty much Mahmoud Ahmadinejad commenting on the U.S. Presidential election — nobody should care what he thinks.

But Doc Rivers spoke for a lot of Lakers fans when he commented on the firing of Mike Brown, the awkward dance with Phil Jackson then the hiring of Mike D’Antoni on Chris Russo’s radio program (SirusXM’s Mad Dog Radio) on Tuesday, as transcribed by the Los Angeles Times.

“I didn’t like the way it was done,” said Rivers. “I don’t think you embarrass anybody….

“Whether you like Phil or not, he’s won a lot of titles and I think he was owed more than that treatment, in my opinion, especially [from] that franchise,” continued Rivers.

He’s right. You can make the case that Mike D’Antoni was the right hire, but it’s how everything went down that was awkward.

The Lakers thought — and GM Mitch Kupchak confirmed — that they didn’t think Phil Jackson would want the job. Jackson had said the summer before at a lunch with Kupchak that he didn’t think he would coach again. So Jim Buss and the Lakers went to him, figured he’d say no, then they could tell fans “hey we tried, but here is D’Antoni and he rocks.” But Jackson surprised them by wanting the job and then Buss was forced to choose — and he was never a Phil Jackson guy. It ended poorly and he couldn’t come back to him now hat in hand. So Jim Buss made his call.

The difference is, Jerry Buss played chess in these situations. He was never perfect, but he had thought everything three moves ahead. He was prepared for eventualities. Jerry Buss wouldn’t have waited until five games in for an awkward in-season change. He wouldn’t have gone to Jackson at all if that’s not the guy he wanted.

And he wouldn’t have hung Jackson out to dry. Doc is right about how it turned out.

  1. jeffw - Nov 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Typical case of a son taking over the family business and then screwing it all up. There’s a reason he shows up to work in the short Buss…

    Arrogance, ego and incompetence are a bad combination.

    • loungefly74 - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      wait…are you talking about the Buss family or the Bush family? hahahaha.

      • badintent - Nov 21, 2012 at 3:20 PM

        We talking bout the Kennedy family. The ones in jail, getting out of jail, skiing into trees, spending their $$ on every left wing radical cause.Putting Odrama in office the first time over Hillary Clinton. Booze money Irish Mobsters. You can dress ’em up but can’t change the Irish Whiskey smell.

      • tjp44 - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:18 PM

        badintent, how you like your a$ whooped by an Irishman… the place loser

      • mytthor - Nov 21, 2012 at 9:01 PM

        WTF just happened? Did I log on to ProPoliticsTalk?

      • loungefly74 - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:47 AM

        whoa guys…my bad. it was all a joke. no need to ruffle feathers, fellow PBT brothers. it was just a play off of words from the previous comment. our american history, liberal or conservative, is one to be proud matter who is running the show.

        okay…back to the important stuff…basketball!

    • mytthor - Nov 21, 2012 at 9:02 PM

      I hope one day my son can ruin my family business by bringing in 2 of the best workers in the history of the business for chump change.

  2. echech88 - Nov 21, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    I think one of Jerry Buss’ best qualities was understanding that the Lakers brand does a lot of the work itself and didn’t meddle too much.

    His son seems like he’s insecure and needs to put his finger prints all over every move to prove he deserves to be where he is….and he’s blowing it.

    • lakesidelakersfan - Nov 21, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      Well said. Phil coached the same way. He stayed out of it and let them work through it on the court. (until necessary)

  3. charlescub80 - Nov 21, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    This could be bad for the lakers. Could give Phil motivation to come back just to beat them.

    • anythingbutyanks - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Won’t happen. What team in position to compete is looking for a coach? Phil wouldn’t come back for anything but a sure-thing shot at a championship, and almost by definition these teams have stable coaches unless they are dysfunctional organizations.

      • lakesidelakersfan - Nov 21, 2012 at 6:41 PM

        If the Clippers don’t go deep into the playoffs, could you see them firing Del Negro? This is the only scenario I see possible. What better way to get back at “Little Buss” than to take the crosstown team, which is loaded, to a championship!

  4. tricwhyte - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Here’s an idea: Wake up and join the real world. This is corp America and people get laid off, fired or just treated much worse than what you describe above every day of the year. It’s not intentional as people usually try to do the right thing. What makes it worse is when someone spouts their mouth and attempt to make it into something it isn’t.

    • anythingbutyanks - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      When you get treated poorly it isn’t all over every sports news site for everyone to see. There is a difference. Oh, and you aren’t nearly indisputably the best at your job.

  5. nightrain42 - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Tell Doc to worry why Ray Ray left and why KG can’t hit a jumper to save his life. Leave La la land to the lakers!

  6. jerdogthompson - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    You’re welcome to join us at anytime Phil.

    Donald Sterling.

  7. davidly - Nov 21, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Your opening analogy might play to the cheap seats, that is, those with the standard short-term take on US History, but when one considers that the Lakers didn’t send someone into Boston in 1953 to overthrow Red Auerbach, any Iranian president past or present might have a slightly more pertinent opinion on the state of US elections and what they mean for the rest of the world.

  8. 1972wasalongtimeago - Nov 21, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Lots of opinions out of Doc these days. Wonder what else Doc has an opinion about. So Doc, any thoughts about, the Harden trade, Rubio’s rehab, or the Nets’ new uniforms?

    Next year when Rivers is on TNT’s pregame show, those opinions will likely be very interesting. Now, however, they stink of someone who should be paying more attention to his team, and less attention to NBA gossip.

  9. iamjimmyjack - Nov 21, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Move on NBC, please! This is ridiculous. Doc should be more worried about his overrated son who robbed the hornets of a real draft choice and millions in the bank.

  10. iamjimmyjack - Nov 21, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Austin rivers is the most overrated 1st round draft pick since… Evan turner.

  11. bigluke357 - Nov 21, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Good business! When do you move on from Phil? Move on while Kobe is there instead of not there. Clearly Brown was the wrong choice cause he has only one thing he can do (coach defense).

  12. mogogo1 - Nov 21, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    For the record, I think Phil Jackson is the probably the best coach of all time and I think the Buss kid is going to eventually screw up the team his father built. Make no mistake: I’d have hired Phil.

    But all that being said, I don’t see how Phil Jackson was really embarrassed in all this. They were talking terms and they didn’t come to an agreement. Since the press had heard they were talking that meant it was written in stone he was going to be hired? I absolutely can’t see where Doc Rivers is coming from and it’s kind of bizarre he felt the need to wade into the fray.

  13. dko83 - Nov 21, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Sports media ask other coaches to comment on goings on around the league all the time. I’d rather he actually answer, and honestly to boot, then just say, “I’m not going to answer that question, ask me ONLY Celtics questions please..”

  14. jziii - Nov 21, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    I wish I could write more, but right now I am so overwhelmed with sympathy for Phil Jackson that I can’t find the words… I hope he can somehow get over this…

  15. tjp44 - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Jim Buss is an idiot pure and simple….without dada buss, he would be working no where……Phil and jeannie will be back and hopefully jim will be out…..jerry, call me and I will explain it to you…..Mike will be fine, but phil needs to be in the Laker org….period

  16. profootballwalk - Nov 21, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Internet fanboys who live in Mom’s basement have much more to say about NBA coaching jobs that Doc Rivers. Really.

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 21, 2012 at 8:59 PM

      So, how is your Mom’s basement? Mine is a bit moldy!

  17. omniusprime - Nov 22, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    Doc Rivers has it right that the little idiot buss boy screwed up the whole coaching decision. He should never have embarrasses Phil Jackson the way he did, why the heck did he even interview Phil if he wasn’t going to pick him?

    One thing Kurt, the only way that the little idiot buss boy gets proven correct on the Dumbtoni hire is if the Lakers win the championship in June, anything less will be total failure by the little idiot buss boy. Heck even if the team wins it will probably be despite Dumbtoni’s sheer coaching ignorance. I mean losing yet again to the totally lame Sacramento Kings shows how pathetic Dumbtoni is as coach.

  18. chainbuzz - Jan 23, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    “You can make the case that Mike D’Antoni was the right hire”


    You can make a much bigger case that he wasn’t.

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