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Phil Jackson refutes report that he declined to speak to Dwight Howard about staying with the Lakers

Jul 4, 2013, 9:00 PM EDT

Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Jackson speaks during a ceremony to retire jersey #34 in honor of former Los Angeles Lakers player O'Neal during their NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Los Angeles Reuters

One of the many reports to emerge following the Lakers’ free agent meeting with Dwight Howard surrounded the involvement of Phil Jackson.

Jackson is not employed by the team in any official capacity, but looms large in the shadows of the organization as its former head coach. He’s also the current fiancee of Jeannie Buss, and speaks regularly with GM Mitch Kupchak on matters related to basketball.

There was a question as to whether or not Jackson would be personally involved in the recruiting of Howard, but it appeared that wouldn’t be the case. Jackson was said to be heading to his second home in Montana at the time the meeting with the Lakers would take place, and said as much when he reached out to Howard via Twitter with a brief message encouraging him to stay in Los Angeles.

A report surfaced, however, that the Lakers did indeed ask Jackson to speak with Howard, only to see him decline due to believing that the system being run by the team’s current head coach was not a good match for Howard’s skill set.

Jackson refuted the report personally on Thursday.

This difference could be one of semantics, in that Jackson may have declined a request due to a scheduling conflict or something similar. But either way, with an unofficial role in the organization, Jackson’s presence may have only confused things in Howard’s eyes, and despite his Hall of Fame resume, it’s probably better that Jackson made his only pitch from afar.

  1. dci744 - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Idk it would seem odd to for PJ to have anything to do with convincing Howard to stay with the Lakers. Yes his shadow looms large but it would greatly undermine D’Antoni and show that the team has zero faith in his ability to coach and win with Howard. If Mike isn’t enough as the current coach to convince him to stay, what could PJ possibly say?

    • funkmong - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:36 PM

      Question is, was D’Antoni at the meeting with Howard? If not, that says it all. If he was, how could Phil show up and shake his head in agreement with the dribble falling out of MDA’s mouth when he and everyone else, except little JimmyB, knows a new coaching direction is needed.

      • Kurt Helin - Jul 5, 2013 at 6:48 AM

        D’Antoni was at the meeting with Howard.

  2. luz56 - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    Phil knows when to abandon a sinking ship… BY THE WAY didn’t the Lakers trade their 2014 first rounder to the Suns? No hope in getting Wiggins

    • zacksdad - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      They traded their Lottery pick from this year’s to Phoenix, if it was a lottery pick Phoenix got it. But if it was not, the other team got it.

      They have their 2014 first round pick. They are not allowed to trade back to back first round picks. So with the right amount of sucking, they are in the Wiggins lottery.

  3. jfk69 - Jul 5, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    D’Antoni days with the Lakers are numbered if Howard signs on. A rough start and the call goes out. Big Chief Triangle couldn’t resist a three year run with Howard and Kobe. His triangle offense is tailor made for his two stars. Run and Gun D’Antoni has Howard contemplating back surgery already.

  4. kev86 - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Jackson is a smart dude.

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