Law and Order: Jackson v. Van Gundy Edition

Written by: Enrique Rea

Los Angeles Lakers' coach Phil Jackson gestures from the bench against the Boston Celtics during the first half of Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals basketball series in Los Angeles, California, June 17, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)


During the early part of the NBA season you can always count on Laker coach Phil Jackson to stir things up. In a season where the biggest and loudest expectations were not on the back-to-back reigning NBA World Champion Los Angeles Lakers, but on a newly stitched together free agent extravaganza of Lebron James and Chris Bosh joining Dwyane Wade in Miami.

With the Heat faltering 16 games into the season and culminating into an embarrassing loss to the Indiana Pacers the pressure is on to right the ship. This has lead to a lot of speculation and consternation about how this is going to occur. A debate good enough for a courtroom drama; let’s call it Law & Order: SVG.

Phil, your opening statement please: (as told to WMVP-AM 1000 in Chicago)

“The scenario that sits kind of behind the scene, is that eventually these guys that were recruited — Bosh and James — by Pat Riley and Mickey Arrison, the owner, are going to come in and say, ‘We feel you [Riley] can do a better job coaching the team. We came here on the hopes that this would work,’ and whatever, I don’t know, that’s kind of my take on it, is that eventually if things don’t straighten out here soon, it could be the Van Gundy thing all over again.”

Objection! This would certainly appear inappropriate for an active coach to be speculating on the status of another active coach. At least that’s what Orlando Magic and former Miami Heat coach, Stan Van Gundy thought. Your rebuttal, sir: (at his press conference)

“First of all, to second guess another coach and to comment on a situation he knew nothing about is inappropriate and it’s also ignorant. I don’t mean that commenting on Phil’s intelligence; he’s obviously a very smart guy. I mean that as ignorant because he doesn’t know what that situation was and he doesn’t know what the situation in Miami is now.”

Now at this point no one is shocked by Jackson’s assertion that Pat Riley would be coaxed from the front office to take the reins from current Heat coach, Erik Spoelstra. Right? Since the All-Stars joined the team during the off-season many in the media wondered as they do now if and when Riley would take over the coaching duties. Jackson is simply stating precedence in the Case of Riley v Van Gundy.

Next: Final Arguments and Verdict

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