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Report: UCLA tried to get Phil Jackson to lead coach search, then blew him off

Apr 1, 2013, 10:53 AM EDT

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At this point, anytime somebody tells Phil Jackson they “just want to think about it over the weekend” he should assume the deal is dead and move on to whatever is next.

It happened to him when discussing returning to the Los Angeles Lakers as coach this year.

And now it happened with UCLA.

That according to T.J. Simers at the Los Angeles Times.

Once UCLA failed to land Virginia Commonwealth Coach Shaka Smart and Butler’s Brad Stevens, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero talked to Phil Jackson’s representative. Guerrero didn’t want Jackson as coach, but rather to have him lead the search for a new UCLA basketball coach. Jackson was agreeable.

Guerrero talked to Jackson’s agent about having a news conference to announce Jackson was onboard. Jackson’s agent told Guerrero what it would cost to hire him as consultant. As part of the discussion, UCLA hoped to count on Jackson meeting with recruits later to help the new coach in his work.

Guerrero told Jackson’s agent he would take the holiday weekend before putting the deal together.

Then Guerrero went and hired Steve Alford — a good coach, but whether he is good enough for one of the hottest chairs in college basketball is another question. Which sounds a lot like what Jim Buss and the Lakers did. It’s an L.A. thing.

People, if you’re going to reach out Phil Jackson as a coach or consultant, know a couple things:

1) He doesn’t come cheap. Phil has earned the right to charge a whole lot of money for his services so if you want him to come in and tell you to hire Brian Shaw as a coach it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. And maybe another arm.

2) He likes to think about things then act. In this case it was UCLA’s Guerrero that asked for time so he could move on, but Jackson is deliberate in his actions — with his team and in making decisions for himself. Just ask Jeannie Buss about how long it took to get a ring on her finger. Don’t expect him to just jump in go without considering the situation fully.

  1. cantonbound13 - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    No MJ, Kobe or Shaq? No thank you

    • pudgalvin - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      Cause the Lakers have proved this year that superstars equal championships.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:54 AM

        No he’s right. Phil should have turned down excellent job offers in favor of worse ones so he could prove himself to commenters on sports blogs everywhere.

    • eventhorizon04 - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      ….The article clearly stated it wasn’t a coaching position being offered to Phil Jackson.

      It was a consulting position to help the university to find a new coach.
      Thus, the quality of the players on the roster wouldn’t impact Phil’s decision – the issue was price.

  2. metalhead65 - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    so are we suppose to feel sorry teams do not bow down to his every demand and whim? they asked he gave them his price and they moved on what’s the big deal? hopefully nobody else will be stupid enough to waste time and ask for his help again so we can stop talking about I only coach superstars and want no part of building a team or turning a loser into a winner jackson.

    • whitey11177 - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      Except he did turn a losing team into a winner. 04-05 Lakers posted a 34-48 record and missed the playoffs. The next year PJ returns and the same team goes 45-37 and makes the playoffs with a worse team than they have this year. 3 years later they are NBA Champions. I think this proves he can coach.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:19 PM

        What do you mean he took the same team to the playoffs? They added Kwame Brown in 05. Remember, Phil only coaches Superstars!

      • metalhead65 - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:39 PM

        I was talking about a losing team like the clippers of old or the timberwolves,teams that did not have at least 2 superstars and ready to win a championship.

  3. fearthehoody - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Bad hire for my Bruins!

  4. ultichiva - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Steve “no BoXChevy” Alford was a great hire!

  5. BigBeachBall - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    kupcheck should be worried…

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 1, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      Why? Because PJ is doing consulting work for college basketball?

  6. mogogo1 - Apr 1, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Incredibly poor form by Guerrero and UCLA if this story is true. But, I’m having a tough time seeing how hiring Phil Jackson as a consultant would have helped in any way. He’s an all-time great NBA coach, but he has zero college coaching experience and has never headed up a search for a coach before. He wasn’t going to spend endless hours watching tape of obscure programs trying to unearth some unknown who could step right into the limelight… he would have just been giving them his opinion on the same guys who’d have already been on their short-list.

    I’m also a little surprised Phil would want a job like this. He should be totally set financially, so the consulting fee would mean nothing to him. And if his guy didn’t win it all within the first couple years there’d be articles about how he’d totally failed UCLA. Sounds like more trouble than it would have been worth.

  7. manchestermiracle - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    Funny how the writers and commenters on here have never praised Simers for anything ever, yet now we are presented this dubious story as though TJ was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. The guy writes satire, which is obviously over most peoples’ heads, and it would appear he has pulled another good one. He could write for the Onion.

    • badintent - Apr 2, 2013 at 1:30 AM

      Aprils Fools blogerettes!!……………………………..Simers

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