Phil Jackson reportedly was going to accept Lakers job

The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off a stunner when they decided to hire Mike D’Antoni as their new basketball coach when it looked like Phil Jackson was going to get the job. Now we’re hearing from Jackson that the team went back on its agreement with him, and another report says he was ready to accept the head coaching job.

Jackson told his side of the story in a statement (via the LA Times):

“Saturday morning, Jim Buss, called to ask if he could come and visit. I did not solicit or ask for the opportunity, but I welcomed both he and Mitch Kupchak into my home to discuss the possibility of my return to the Lakers as the head coach. We talked for over an hour and a half. No contractual terms were discussed and we concluded with a hand shake and an understanding that I would have until Monday (today) to come back to them with my decision.

“I did convey to them that I did have the confidence that I could do the job. I was awakened at midnight on Sunday by a phone call from Mitch Kupchak. He told me that the Lakers had signed Mike D’Antoni to a 3-year agreement and that they felt he was the best coach for the team.

“The decision is of course theirs to make.

“I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Laker Fans who endorsed my return and it is the principal reason why I considered the possibility.”

ESPN LA also says Jackson was prepared to take the job so long as the contract negotiations went well. Instead, as Jackson is portraying things, the Lakers worked behind his back and just decided to hire D’Antoni.

Yahoo! Sports says matters are not as simple as Jackson makes them seem. Marc J. Spears reported on Sunday night that Jackson had several demands if he were to take control of the team, including a large salary and control over personnel decisions. Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski went into greater detail on this issue, reporting that the Lakers resisted Jackson’s “power grab” by hiring someone else. If you read Woj’s report, you’ll come away thinking that Jackson was hardly a victim.

Jackson’s agent, Todd Musburger, has also gone into full-on defense mode. He is trying to spin things in Jackson’s favor by discrediting the reports about his contractual demands.

“There were no demands, outrageous or otherwise,” Musburger told ESPN LA. “To say that he wanted control or that he wanted a zillion dollars or that he wanted equity, those were not topics discussed in the meeting between Kupchak, Buss and Phil. If the Lakers didn’t spread those things, the fact they didn’t take an affirmative stance to correct the record is very troublesome.”

I believe the reports from Yahoo! saying that Jackson had incredible demands, and that the Lakers chose D’Antoni as a way of telling Jackson to stick it. The only real question is whether it was a good move by the Lakers. I don’t think it was.

As for whether or not they’re a championship team, apparently Jackson is leery.

Jackson wouldn’t return if he didn’t think the team could win a championship. Maybe he felt he could be the difference.

We’ll know over the next several months whether the Lakers made the right decision. What we do know is that this has been the latest dramatic chapter in Hollywood’s wildest reality show.

Around The Web

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Wright/100000122870251 Scott Wright

    Ha Ha Ha Dont you feel special right about now you fraud?If you havethe coaching bug again then you should be ready to accept any team needing a coach’s offer,But you wont because you need a ready made team and that means established stars,Not having any on a team would expose you as you are a nobody who benefited from some superstars playing for you in the past such as Shaq and Jordan!The reports already stated that you didnt want to go to away games and several other diva like requests,GURU yeah your a guru like Im Jordan  just go back to doing what you do best being a nobody!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SXH5JGINWNWBYQFNCBCMRCRLCQ Joseph

    Hey Phil, we will miss you because we need you. I’ve been a Lakers fan for over 40 years and I’d take you or Pat Rley in a heartbeat. Mike DiAntoni is a quitter and a waste. He quite the Suns and then again the Knicks (or did they really fire him?). I don’t care what he did as an assistant in the Olympics…he wasn’t the head coach so it doesn’t count. The Lakers need DEFENSE right now and D’Antoni can’t spell the word defense let alone command it from players. He is too soft and European basketball is not the NBA. I guess there goes the Lakers season down the drain. Kobe might as well retire now because he won’t win with this new guy. What ever happened to Brian Shaw or Jerry Sloan or even Nate McMillan, even Jeff Van Gundy?

  • SMH_shameonitall

    You’re pathetic.

  • beachbum555

    Don’t jump to conclusions about D’Antoni. He is an experienced coach and can motivate the Lakers with his style as a player’s coach. The Lakers have the talent and what they need is a man at the head to fine tune, not overhaul. Keeping them happy while steering them to maximize their abilities should be something he is capable of doing. Bringing back Phil is like bringing back Joe Gibbs to the Redskins. Leave these hall of famers with their past glories to bask in their  accomplishments.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FAWLNDDPH2QLSFPKCWIDPI7MGY Dirk Smith

    Sorry Phil, they decided NOT to stoke your ego a little more.  Stay retired please.

  • Ron Cardwell Sr.

    I’ve been a Laker fan scince Jerry West days as a player, I think Mike D’Antoni is a great run and gun offence guy, but his defense has been suspect down thru the years, and teams win championship with defense.   Ron Cardwell of Cincinnati Ohio

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RSZKAI23OIOJSTJ6R73WIX5G3Y Peony

    Dear Jim Buss: Laker fans pay alot of money to support you and your team…and alot of us are NOT HAPPY

  • hookedonnews

    Phil Jackson’s attempt to put the blame on the Lakers for not agreeing to his ridiculous demands is shameless. Does he expect anyone to believe that there was no discussion of terms, and they just left him to decide whether he wanted the job?  This is simply an attempt to stir the pot and make things more difficult for D’Antoni because he knows the fans wanted him to return. D’Antoni is a logical choice because of the presence of Steve Nash. Fans just need to shut up (to quote Kobe Bryant) and give this a chance to work. If Phil Jackson had really wanted the job he would have been reasonable, and the job would have been his.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ellis.marcelle Ellis Marcelle

    The problem with your statement, Scott, is that to state that Phil needed superstars like MJ and Shaq is to understate that those superstars did not need Phil. Well, with all the accolades these players receive they also did not win without Phil. Combined these two superstars, and you can throw in Pippen and Kobe as well, won one ring with out Phil. Shaq, and he won it with Pat Riley, another elite coach. At this point in his career, he does not want to coach rebuilding projects, only ring contenders. Nothing wrong with that!

  • Mary Mote

    Well its over and done, Phil is not going to be the Coach, so….lets all get behind D’Antoni and hope he has the coaching talent to take this team and make it into a winner.  Unfortunately he doesn’t have alot of time to prove himself, we Laker fans expect to be winners, so he has his work cut out for him. Hope he can prove that the “Powers that Be” made the right choice.  I wish him well.. GO Lakers!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EVJ7MN5PVHRTELWDZMXL7Z5THA Edward

    Zen Master..dAntonio, whomever!!Doesn’t really matter! This is the year for the Los Angeles Clippers to have center stage!….Go CLIPPERS!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EVJ7MN5PVHRTELWDZMXL7Z5THA Edward

    Fakers will need more than dAntonio to motivate & stroke the “egos” of the LA Faker crybabies!  I was worried that Phil would’ve given the fakers a chance to retrieve the season, but alas lil Jimmy B had vendetta in place of a winning season! Poor Jerry, he has made the wrong choice of kids to run the asylum!   GO CLIPPERS!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EVJ7MN5PVHRTELWDZMXL7Z5THA Edward

    What’s wrong with hiring J V Gundys brother? lmfao… GO CLIPPERS!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sherrod.brown.18 Sherrod Brown

     doug collins picked jordan. he went thru years of bad bulls and built a good team and then was canned. phil came in on tha6t which doug built. the story of dougs life, really. phil lft and went to lakers, who already had players built and eager. so no, phil has yet to prove that he can couch a team to being all they can be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sherrod.brown.18 Sherrod Brown

    as far as you people talking about ridiculous demands, where are u getting that from? the media right? and repeating the exact word “ridiculous” shows a true fox news brain. so how did that romney vote pan out?