After Phil Jackson stepped down as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers following the 2003-2004 NBA season, no one knew what the future held for the storied franchise.
Despite reaching the NBA Finals, nothing was going right for the Lakers. Jackson left the team in the summer of 2004 after the Detroit Pistons dismantled the team in five games. To make matters worse, the Kobe-Shaq feud kicked into high gear forcing the team to make a difficult decision to trade O’Neal to the Miami Heat.
During an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, Al Michaels says Doc Rivers was in Dr. Jerry Buss’ crosshairs before he took the job with the Boston Celtics. Two-time NBA champion Rudy Tomjanovich ultimately took over for Jackson, but only lasted 41 games before stepping down after 41 games due to mental and physical exhaustion.
Jackson eventually returned to the Lakers and helped lead the team to two more titles, but it’s interesting to think how things would’ve drastically changed for the Lakers and Celtics had Buss hired Rivers.
Kobe, ‘Things Go Good, It’s Us. Things Go Bad, It’s Me’