One of the most influential people in the Los Angeles Lakers organization in recent history is Phil Jackson, who helped bring five championships to the franchise in an 11-year span as head coach.
Even though Jackson left L.A. in 2011 and has been retired from basketball since 2017 though, we recently learned that he is still involved in the Lakers organization and will be assisting in this summer’s coaching search.
This doesn’t come as a huge surprise considering Jackson’s close relationship with Lakers governor Jeanie Buss. Although the two are no longer dating, Buss is known to still go to Jackson for advice, especially when it comes to basketball matters.
While Buss has a number of other people that have official titles in the organization that she can go to for advice instead, she explained why she continues to go to Jackson in an interview with Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times:
“People see us around town, we have breakfast, lunch, dinner, whatever … it’s not anything romantic,” she said. “He’s somebody that knows this environment and knows the challenges I have and wants to see the Lakers successful, so he’s somebody I know doesn’t have any other agenda than for the Lakers to be successful, so he’s somebody that I can lean on.”
As things currently stand, the Lakers are tasked with trying to get the team back into championship contention after a disappointing 2021-22 season in which they missed the postseason.
While everything surrounding the Lakers seems to be doom and gloom about the odds of that happening, Buss remains confident that they can put a winning roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis due to some advice she received from Jackson:
“There’s no reason for me to think we can’t win with them,” she said. “Something that I learned from Phil Jackson is that there’s always a path to success. … Sometimes it might be a little bit harder than other times, … but you have to see the ability.”
Buss also expressed frustration with how last season went for the Lakers, so there is a ton of pressure on the decision-makers in the front office to get things right this summer.
It will be interesting to see just how much input Jackson gives them, but one thing that is for sure is that it will be a group effort between him, the Buss family, Rob Pelinka, Kurt Rambis and others to put the roster and coaching staff together.
Some in Lakers organization not happy with Jackson’s involvement
It was recently reported that some people within the Lakers organization are not happy with Jackson’s involvement in team matters.
Some have speculated whether that’s James and Klutch Sports considering their past rift with Jackson, but regardless, Buss has made it clear that she will continue to go to him for advice, so it doesn’t really matter who is upset about it.
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