Skip to content

Phil Jackson on some Lakers broadcasts this season? Stranger things have happened.

Aug 23, 2013, 11:37 AM 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

We talked about this before — the biggest challenge for the Lakers right now is the younger Buss family finding a way to lead this team into a new era. Having history and tradition are nice, having the Los Angeles market is huge, but that alone isn’t going to be enough. The Lakers need creative leadership again.

Part of the challenge is finding a balance with Jim Buss running the basketball side and Jeanie Buss the business side (as set up by the late Dr. Jerry Buss’ trust to his six kids). Which is why Phil Jackson — Jeanie’s fiancé and long-time beau — is a challenge for the Lakers: Bring him in as coach and he tips the balance of power. He is such a large presence he changes everything if they give him a formal role.

Ric Bucher of covered that in a fantastic Hollywood Reporter piece recently.

Bucher took to Sulia to add some stuff he just couldn’t fit in that story — including the idea of Jackson as a temporary broadcaster.

“Right now he has no official position,” Jeanie said of Phil’s role with the team. “He wants to be supportive of me and the organization. He has no contractual obligation. He would listen to anything where he might be able to help. If we asked him to fill in on the broadcast because someone was out, I’m sure he’d do it. Just because everyone puts him as a coach doesn’t mean that’s the only thing he’s capable of doing.”

Jim Buss welcomes Phil’s involvement – to a degree. “We can call him at any time,” Jim said. “(GM) Mitch (Kupchak) has sat down with him several times, especially with the Dwight situation. I’d be more than happy to have him on a consultant basis. I don’t think we’re paying him and I don’t know if he has an official title. I have no idea if Jeanie wants to sit down and discuss that. But I have no issues with him coming back or having a role.”

Jackson as a fill-in broadcaster for a couple of games? Heck yes I’d tune in.

That Jeanie and Jim have not had a formal discussion of any role for Jackson speaks to the communication issues that seem to surround the team right now.

Jackson isn’t the problem, he is just a symptom of the larger issues.

Teams that win over time win from the top down — everyone from ownership down to the guy handing out towels and Gatorade cups on the bench are on the same page. Look at the Spurs as the obvious example of how to make it work, but you’re seeing that now in places such as Miami — one clear voice and plan on how to move forward.

Jerry Buss gave the Lakers that. The younger Buss kids now need to figure out how to do that together.

  1. smoothaswilkes - Aug 23, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    “But I have no issues with him coming back or having a role.”

    Kurt, not sure why you are jumping on the negative so fast. It’s a process and the fact that Jim has no issues consulting with PJ now or bringing him on board later is a very positive turn of events. The offseason is winding down and it looks like if there are inroads to be made with PJ coming back that the foundation has been laid.

  2. mogogo1 - Aug 23, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    “the biggest challenge for the Lakers right now is the younger Buss family finding a way to lead this team into a new era. ”


    That is absolutely what Jim Buss believes. And that is the central problem, because that is 100% wrong. The biggest challenge is them finding a way to succeed today, with the players they have now, and with the players they will be getting in the near future. It’s always about winning. Nothing else matters. Eras are meaningless…labels created after the fact to describe what happened. Continue on the path he’s started down thinking “I’ve got to prove I’m not my old man, so I better do exactly the opposite of what I think he’d do in this situation” and the Jim Buss era will be viewed as an epic failure.

    • zxrated - Aug 23, 2013 at 6:32 PM

      In this interview Dr. Buss makes it clear how things work in the FO and shuts down the media rumors. The same rumors many have brought into…

      “I understand that, I do. For one thing I was a fan a long before I was an owner. But you know there are certain misconceptions, you know, how many people have really sat in on front office decisions? The answer is the public perception of what occurs and what actually occurs often times is very different.” –Dr. Jerry Buss

      Again Jeanie was set up to be head of the business side of the franchise, Jimmy was set up to be in the basketball decisions collective. This was Dr. Buss’s plan.

      ESPN and most of the media want to drive ratings. Laker drama is in their best interest.

      Jim concedes that Jeanie is not consulted on basketball decisions but denies he wields unilateral authority. He insists the Lakers are a democracy that includes GM Mitch Kupchak, to whom Jim says he often defers. “I don’t run the franchise,” he says. “We run it as a family. I’m just a figurehead. I like it collective. Now I might have to put my name on a [decision], but I can’t have the ego to make those calls alone.” –Jimmy Buss

      These are the exact words Dr. Buss spoke in that 2005 interview. This is the collective he set up. The conversation Dr. Buss had with Michael Eaves is the exact same one were having today. Dr. Buss never wavered on how he felt about his will for the franchise going forward. This video is Showtime Bible.

      Dr. Buss didn’t hate Phil but he did not want him in the FO/ownership role…

      Eaves; “There’s recent rumor if you will, like we like to do around the media (sinister grin lol) um, that there have been negotiations started between the team, you say that is not true, but of that rumor Dr. Buss is talk that an excess of 10 million is the salary that Phil Jackson would request, but also a stake of ownership in the team. Would you be willing to give a coach stake of ownership in a team? Dr. Buss; “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” Eaves; Why? Dr. Buss; “because (snidely frank chuckle) the Lakers belong to my children and that’s the way it’s gonna be!”

      Again, Jeanie fell out with both Jimmy and her dad over Phil’s firing in 2004…

      “OMG, their not gonna bring Phil back whether he wins or not” –Jeanie Buss

      These were her words during the 2004 finals. Jeanie was distraught at the time, and thus broke the lines of communication between herself, Dr. Buss and Jimmy. She wants to go against her dads wishes in bringing Phil back, but knows she needs Jimmy’s approval because Dr. Buss set it up like that. Again, she needs to stay in her lane.

      Jeanie on future: “It’s important we move forward with what [Dr. Buss] put into place. I have a great relationship w/ all my brothers.”

  3. 700levelvet - Aug 23, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    My old man says he saw this before in the 70’s on an episode of “Dallas”

  4. dirtydavis - Aug 23, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    On Stu Lantz is dope. on the radio Spero Dedes is right on the dot

  5. sportsfan18 - Aug 23, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Love it!

    The author says the following “The younger Buss kids now need to figure out how to do that together.”

    Jim Buss is 53 yrs old and Jeanie is 51 yrs old…

    Luckily, their still in school and when these “younger Buss kids” finish growing up then they’ll be able to run the franchise…

    It isn’t like they were both fully grow adults during the ENTIRE time their father ran the Lakers.

    It’s a shame they were young kids and couldn’t learn from their father before he passed…

  6. zxrated - Aug 23, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    I see my comment has been blocked. Truth is never popular is it?

  7. badintent - Aug 24, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    Jimmy is clueless. He makes Dolan look like a genius.The team is a first round playoff exit.. Best case is Jimmy drives his Ferrari off Mulholland Drive into the Valley and Phil becomes GM. Bump Mitch up to Prez .Give the Laker girls some new threads. Free Tacos when Laker score 100. Win a dinner with Jack drawing. Win a night with a Kardashian hoe. Win tickets to game with Cavs when $5 million a year sub Mr. Luke Walton makes his LA return.Win a night in Kobe’s house before he sells it to a shark lover.Enter the “Best team in Cali ” contest drawing to visit the Golden State Warriors game against the Clippers.Enter the have dinner with Billy AND Jack by buying $100 tickets( All proceeds go to Kobe’s mom to buy her a new crib.)Enter the TACO eating contest. Winner gets to sit courtside next to Buss.And throw up on him !

  8. onlyavoice - Aug 24, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Come On, Remember Dell Harris & Magic Johnson As Head Coach,
    Dr.Buss Wasn’t Always A Winner With His Decisions.
    D’Antoni & Nash Were Both Mistakes, They Never Should Have Been Signed.
    The Problem Is The Future & Who Is Going To Be In Place To Attract The 2014 Big Name Free Agents.
    I Think We All Can see D’Antoni Gone Before The Season Ends, No One Will Sign With Him As Coach.
    But Who? Who Will Attract Lebron, Bosh, George Or Melo (Don’t Give This Sh!# About Playing For The Great Lakers Organization) These Guys Want To Win.
    Then There’s Egotistical MY TEAM Kobe. It Doesn’t Look Good The Lakers.
    I Think The Lakers Are Going To Push Kobe Into Retirement After This Season, There’s No Going Forward With Him Anymore.
    Big Changes Coming This Season, Big Changes.

  9. imakcds - Aug 26, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    How come when somebody retires nowadays, everyone wants to give him a job?
    and if you retire, why do we hear so much about you??

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. James (2154)
  2. D. Rose (2128)
  3. K. Bryant (1842)
  4. K. Irving (1740)
  5. J. Smith (1658)
  1. T. Thompson (1545)
  2. A. Davis (1533)
  3. T. Wroten (1409)
  4. J. Embiid (1346)
  5. K. Durant (1316)