IS PART-TIME PHIL JACKSON THE ANSWER?
Shortly after their 1-4 start to the 2012-2013 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers shocked the sports world by abruptly discharging Mike Brown as head coach Friday and were quickly on to the next.
To many Lakers fans it seemed like a wise idea to quickly get rid of Brown before getting too in debt. To others, it seemed as if Jim Buss woke up with an extremely bad hangover Friday and simply said: “I need some aspirin. And fire Brown. That might make me feel better.”
Not knowing what the next day had in store for him, ESPNLA.com’s Dave McMenamin reported that the night before Mike Brown was let go, he fell asleep in his office at Staples Center after hours of film review, due to the team’s 95-86 road loss in Utah which dropped the Lakers record to be the worse-in-the-west.
Within 24 hours of divorcing Brown, the Lakers announced that they were meeting with ex-head-coach, Phil Jackson, who reportedly has been interested in returning from retirement to coach, yet once again.
The Lakers announced Saturday before the meeting that there is a “95% chance” that Phil Jackson would return. However, after the meeting, with no offers made, both sides decided to meet again “in a couple of days” while still remaining interested.
During Saturday’s meeting between Lakers owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak, the two sides discussed terms of a potential two-year deal with anywhere between $20-$24 Million for Jackson.
Although Jackson’s return to the Lakers seems to be more a matter of a when and not if, his health seems to be the issue of the hold-up.
“Knowing him the way I do, I think it’s really just a matter of health,” Bryant expressed Friday night. “He’s a perfectionist. We all know he’s a perfectionist. If he feels like he can come in here and give what he demands from himself, then I think he would be interested.”
During Saturday’s meeting, Jackson, 67, also discussed his wants of increased power over all basketball decisions as well as travel restrictions which would cause him to miss multiple roach games as he is now recovering from his knee replacement surgery from back in March.
Meanwhile, since the absence of Mike Brown, interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff has clearly been doing a great job replacing Brown, leading the team to a better direction as the team has now moved to 2-0 (3-4) after Friday’s 101-77 win against the Golden State Warriors and Sunday’s 103-90 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Whether a Lakers fan or not, anyone can admit that watching Kobe Bryant is irresistible. Although we all long for Bryant to play as long as humanly possible, his contract with the Lakers runs out after the 2013-2014 season. However, he has made hints and comments in the past that he might be around for two more years. Which seemed too good to be true.
“It’s not about health necessarily,” he said. “It’s about, ‘Do I want to do it? Do I have that hunger to continue to prepare at a high level?’ “
Nevertheless, if Phil Jackson does rejoin the Los Angeles Lakers on a two-year-deal, I do believe that there will be plenty of hunger for Kobe Bryant to stick around for two more years.
According to ESPN Los Angeles sources, if Phil Jackson and the Lakers come to terms Monday, Bernie Bickerstaff and the rest of the interim coaching staff will be in charge for Tuesday’s game against the Spurs, making Wednesday Phil Jackson’s first practice with the team.
Although I know we all miss seeing how extremely calm the Zen Master sat on his stool during the tightest and most exciting games, I can’t help but wonder…is part-time Phil Jackson really the answer for the Lakers?
In my opinion, Mike D’Antoni seems like the right- not to mention full-time-coach to chase.
But Stephen A. Smith thinks otherwise.