Skip to content

Doc Rivers rips Lakers for “embarrassing” Phil Jackson

Nov 21, 2012, 10:59 AM EST

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Flip Saunders: Corey Brewer too valuable to trade

    Nov 21, 2014, 9:51 AM EST

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Orlando Magic Minnesota Timberwolves v Orlando Magic

    Cavaliers and Rockets were reportedly interested in Timberwolves forward

  2. Pizza promotion revamped because the 76ers can’t win a single game

    Nov 21, 2014, 9:14 AM EST

    Who would have figured offering a 50 percent discount following Philadelphia wins wouldn’t work?

  3. K.J. McDaniel’s mom slams 76ers on Twitter

    Nov 21, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers

    Add rookie’s mom to long list of people angry about 76ers tanking

  4. Stan Van Gundy fires back at Suns’ Markieff Morris

    Nov 21, 2014, 12:15 AM EST

    Orlando's Stan Van Gundy shouts during an NBA playoff basketball game in Indianapolis Reuters

    Morris said Pistons’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope “doesn’t have any heart”, Van Gundy fires back.

  5. PBT Extra: How would the NBA benefit from legalized sports betting?

    Nov 20, 2014, 8:15 PM EST

    Adam Silver Adam Silver

    Adam Silver’s support for legalized sports betting is making him unpopular in some circles.

  6. Seven Grizzlies players questionable Friday with stomach virus

    Nov 20, 2014, 7:30 PM EST

    Tony Allen Tony Allen

    The virus has affected almost half of Memphis’ roster.

  7. Kevin Love: “I’m just trying to find myself in this offense”

    Nov 20, 2014, 6:45 PM EST

    Enes Kanter, Kevin Love Enes Kanter, Kevin Love

    Love is averaging 16.7 points per game in his first year with the Cavs.

  8. NBPA ready to appeal Jeffery Taylor’s 24-game suspension

    Nov 20, 2014, 6:00 PM EST

    Jeffery Taylor Jeffery Taylor

    NBPA director Michele Roberts calls the suspension “excessive.”

  9. Kobe Bryant says he and Kevin Durant didn’t mean what they said about Dwight Howard

    Nov 20, 2014, 3:40 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Rockets star has taken plenty of verbal abuse lately from opposing players

Featured video

Can Rockets, Grizzlies keep up hot starts?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (7658)
  2. D. Wade (7139)
  3. K. Durant (6410)
  4. R. Westbrook (5484)
  5. N. Young (5371)
  1. T. Jones (5260)
  2. R. Gay (5026)
  3. K. Bryant (5022)
  4. I. Shumpert (4950)
  5. B. Beal (4775)