The Los Angeles Lakers chose to make a bold move last season following the firing of head coach Mike Brown by hiring Mike D’Antoni instead of bringing in 11-time NBA champion Phil Jackson for a third tour. Although the move was highly questionable and left a lot of people wondering why the decision was made, the Lakers’ front office was content with the decision and are only now starting to explain their reasoning.
Over the past few years, it has been rumored that Lakers Executive VP Jim Buss and Jackson never really saw eye-to-eye. With Jim being handed the reins from arguably the most successful owner in professional sports, Dr. Jerry Buss, and making his own decisions, Jim has been highly criticized.
Despite all the rumors of Jim and Phil not exactly being the closest of friends and Jim wanting to get away from anything resembling the Jackson era in Los Angeles, Buss says he considers Phil as part of the family via Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
“I consider Phil family. That’s how I look at him,” he said. “If he wants to work with me on a consultant basis, I’m all for it.”
Obviously, at this point in time, Phil isn’t going anywhere. Jackson proposed to Jeanie Buss earlier this year and now is set to marry daughter of the late great Dr. Jerry Buss in the near future. Jim may be going through the motions in terms of claiming Phil is considered part of the family, but it’ll be interesting to see if Jackson takes a substantial role with the team as a consultant moving forward.
With the team on the verge of an extensive rebuilding process, Phil’s help is needed now more than ever. Since Phil has no intentions of coaching again, the 11-time NBA champion might begin to embrace the consulting role in Los Angeles while helping this franchise get back to form as one of the best teams in the league.
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