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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Jackson Tries to Squash Rumors, Still Leaves Future a Mystery

We all know by now that Phil Jackson is an absolute master of mind games.  Most will argue that it’s one of the main contributing factors to the success he’s had throughout his career.  The most likely scenario for Jackson’s future is that he either continues to coach the Lakers, or retires.  Last season, he told Magic Johnson that he had “one more year after this one with the Lakers.”  Even then, he chose to say “with the Lakers”, which doesn’t exactly close the door on the possibility him coaching another team.

With the LeBron James frenzy in full-force, rumors have run wild that Jackson may be interested in reuniting with the Chicago Bulls next season — one of LeBron’s most likely landing spots.  The chatter is even more intriguing when you consider the rumors that Jackson would have to take a 60% pay cut (he’s making $12 million this season) if he wants to continue to coach the Lakers for another season.  Last night, before LA’s Game 4 Western Conference Finals loss to the Phoenix Suns, Jackson remained emphatic that he is not interested in coaching the Bulls next season:

I have no, at all, desire to go back to Chicago and coach the Bulls.”

Sounds pretty direct, right?  Not exactly.  In order to press him further, a reporter came up with a clever request when he said, “You can end all this talk, any distraction and all these rumors — just say I’ll either be with the Lakers next year, or I’ll be home. Go ahead.”  Of course, the Zen Master couldn’t allow it to be that simple, and gave yet another open-ended response:

I’ve always had problems committing.”

To sum all that up, Phil Jackson says it’s almost a certainty he will either retire next season or continue to coach the Lakers.  He has no desire to coach the Bulls, but he has “problems committing.”  Does that mean he may have interest in going to a team that isn’t Chicago or LA?  I suppose it depends on where LeBron ends up — but I doubt it.  What he’s really trying to tell us is to not even bother trying, because we aren’t going to be able to figure it out.

Jackson has “no desire” to coach Bulls [ESPN Chicago]

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