Phil Jackson and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss ended their romance years ago
Their working relationship appears to remain strong. And active.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Jackson, who coached Los Angeles to five NBA championships in the 2000s, is “significantly involved” in the current Lakers coaching search following the offseason dismissal of Frank Vogel.
“This is very much a committee in LA putting together this coaching search,” Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday. “One person who is certainly significantly involved in this process is Phil Jackson.”
Jackson hasn’t held a formal role with the Lakers since his retirement as head coach in 2011. He apparently still has the ear of Buss and Lakers brass regarding team decisions. According to Wojnarowski he did in 2019 as well when the Lakers hired Frank Vogel.
Jackson is one of the greatest coaches in basketball history. His brief track record as an executive is less than stellar. His three-year stint as New York Knicks president of basketball operations produced an 80-166 record including a 17-65 campaign in 2014-15 that was the worst in franchise history. He was fired in 2017.
It’s unclear exactly how much influence Jackson has on the Lakers’ coaching search other than being “significant.” It’s also not clear how in tune Jackson is with today’s game after being out of coaching for more than a decade.
What is clear is that the Lakers are under an enormous amount of pressure to get this decision right with LeBron James in the twilight of his playing career.