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League “addresses issue” to make sure Phil Jackson/Jeanie Buss relationship not conflict of interest

Mar 20, 2014, 3:15 PM EST

Former Los Angeles Lakers coach Jackson sits with Lakers Executive Vice President of Business Operations Buss during the NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Los Angeles

It’s hard to picture Phil Jackson lying in bed next to Jeanie Buss detailing the Knicks plans to go after Kevin Love in 2015. Or to see Buss telling Jackson exactly how the Lakers planned to trump that offer. It’s not how I imagine their relationship works. (Frankly I try hard not to picture them in bed, period.)

But because of a perceived possible conflict of interest between the Lakers co-owner (Buss) and her fiancé the Knicks president of basketball operations (Jackson) the league’s lawyers have stepped in. Because every relationship is better when the lawyers get involved.

Darren Rovell and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN posted the details.

An NBA official has acknowledged that the league has put parameters in place to make sure that the high-profile relationship between Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson doesn’t create any issues.

“The Knicks’ hiring of Phil Jackson is subject to the league’s conflict of interest rules,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN.com. “To avoid even the appearance of a conflict, we have addressed the issue with the Knicks and Lakers to ensure that the relationship between Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson will not affect how the teams operate.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver broached the topic with Buss at a dinner, she said in an interview on Time Warner SportsNet Wednesday.

She also explained why this really isn’t much of a conflict.

“There is an understanding all trades are approved by the NBA, and I don’t anticipate any problem because I don’t make the basketball decisions on behalf of the Lakers,” said Buss, who has indeed previously ceded all basketball decisions to her brother Jim and team general manager Mitch Kupchak. “So I really don’t see where there would be a conflict.”

There’s won’t be. But the lawyers had to get paid.

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