As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to struggle on the court, the organization continues to look for answers off it in order to get their season back on track.
The Lakers came into this season with championship hopes after acquiring Russell Westbrook to pair with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. To this point though, they have looked anything but that as they sit in ninth place in the Western Conference at 28-35.
While Lakers governor Jeanie Buss typically doesn’t get involved in the interworkings of the front office, trusting the people she put in place to do the job, she does have certain people that she trusts for advice.
Among them are Rob Pelinka, who remains in good standing in the organization despite this season’s strggues, as well as Kurt and Linda Rambis and Magic Johnson, who does not have an official title with the Lakers currently after stepping down as president of basketball operations in 2019.
It appears Johnson is not the only former Laker that Jeanie Buss consults with as according to Sam Amick and Bill Oram of The Athletic, she continues to get advice from Phil Jackson:
Sources say Jackson, the Lakers legend and ex-fiancé of Buss, whose presence at Saturday’s win against Golden State was highlighted by the team’s Twitter account, has been in frequent contact with Buss about team matters all season long. The complicated and often uncomfortable dynamics surrounding the Westbrook situation, in particular, are known to have drawn his interest. As unofficial consultants go, they don’t get much more experienced or credible than Jackson.
Jackson, who last coached the Lakers in 2011 and has a previous relationship with Buss, was in attendance for Saturday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors in which James scored 56 points to lead a comeback victory to snap a four-game losing streak.
While Jackson has one of the best basketball minds ever, he has been away from the game for a while, so it would be interesting to hear what advice he has been giving to Buss, especially as it pertains to Westbrook and his struggles.
Jackson has past issues with both James and Carmelo Anthony from when he was an executive for the New York Knicks. So regardless of how much Jackson is consulted, it seems unlikely that he would take on any sort of official role with the Lakers organization right now.
Westbrook return in summer viewed as ‘impossible’
As far as Westbrook goes, his days with the Lakers seem to be numbered as a return next season is viewed as ‘impossible’ due to his strained relationship with the organization after he has beared a lot of criticism for the team’s struggles.
Some within the organization have reportedly advocated for Westbrook to come off the bench, although Frank Vogel has resisted to this point.
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