Phil Jackson’s uncertain future

Posted by Scott Howard-Cooper

PHOENIX – Phil Jackson, clearly loving conjecture that he could leave the Lakers when his contract expires after the season, ruled out a return to Chicago but all but encouraged continued speculation he could end up with the Nets or Cavaliers as a coaching free agent.

Addressing what has become a predictable flurry of reports that teams will try to lure him away at a time the Lakers will be expecting him to take a pay cut from the $12-million salary of 2009-10, Jackson declined several chances Tuesday to reiterate previous statements that he will either be working in Los Angeles next season or be retired. Asked point blank whether he can still say it will be one of those two outcomes, he responded, “I’ll leave it open and just say as of now I have not made up my mind about coaching or not coaching next year.”

More of his typical playful banter with the media or not, he obviously loved the chance to fan the rumors that Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, the new Nets owner, will shovel money at Jackson to bring the former New Jersey player and assistant coach back.

“I’d like to have a vodka with him at some point,” Jackson said at US Airways Center before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. “He seems like a very interesting young man.”

He did, however, deny reports that teams have made back-channel approaches or any other contact with a Jackson intermediary. He also flatly dismissed any chance of a reunion with the Bulls.

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

Asked why he was being so cagey when he could erase the speculation on the spot, he said: “I’ve always had problems committing.”

5 Comments

  1. NBA Fan says:

    phil jackson to the lakers is like Lebron to the Cavaliers. if the cavs offered Lebron a pay cut to stay, you know what he would do…

  2. MGFunk says:

    Phil Jackson cannot take a team to a championship. It is only the star players that he has had the luck to coach (MJ, Kobe, Shaq) that have led HIM to Championships. That is why he is considering Cleveland (LeBron). Lets see him take a team that doesn’t have the best player in the league and see if he can turn THAT around. That’s the real test. Phil would be nothing without star players.

  3. ozzy says:

    fphil will stay with the lakers if lakers win the championship which they will thats my point

  4. ZULU says:

    Great timing for PHIL’S job status to be brought up. Who started this some ‘plant’ from the Sun’s? Phil needs to care of the work at hand. This series isn’t a Laker walkover.

  5. stephen kreuz says:

    the lakers are lucky to even have phil jackson and trying to make him take a pay cut is not going to want him to stay hes the best coach out there and if i was the owner of the lakers i woulnt want him coaching against me the owner really needs to rethink every aspect and try his best to keep phil jackson