Jackson discusses future

By Scott Howard-Cooper

LOS ANGELES – Phil Jackson, moving toward a quick resolution of his future, told NBA.com he hopes to make a decision on whether he will return to the Lakers sideline as soon as before the draft next Thursday and by the end of the week at the latest.

A day before the Lakers and Celtics play Game 7 of the Finals, Jackson sent conflicting signals on whether he expects to return, admitting he has little appetite for another season of the grind but later conceding it was his end-of-season energy level talking and not a read on whether he will be in Los Angeles for an 11th season. The only certainty, Jackson said, is that he will see his doctor within days of the championship series ending and make his career decision soon after.

“Hopefully I get the medical things done early next week and before the draft is up I have a decision,” he said after practice.

Jackson has planned all along to get input from doctors, to make sure pre-existing medical issues won’t stop him from coaching. He said late in the regular season, though, that there is no hint of a problem, noting, “The wear and tear of a season, I think, affects everybody, the travel and whatever else you have to do for an extended time. But, all that being said, I’m as mobile as I’ve ever been in the last three years. That helps. I’m dealing with less arthritic elements that are painful things going on as you age. But there are still considerations as to the duration that I will coach, simply because I have to stay attuned to that.”

The subject of his health came up again Wednesday at a press conference after practice at Staples Center.

“You know, I still get up and say this is probably the last time I’m ever going to do this,” Jackson said. “I can’t imagine myself going through this again. It’s not only a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of stress and pain and anxiety, et cetera.  But it’s something you get acclimated to.”

Asked later whether it was a strong indication he prefers retirement over coaching, he told NBA.com:

“No. I just can’t go off on a snap judgment like that. That’s why I say I want to take some time following the season.”

Jackson said in late-March that he expects to come back and re-affirmed that direction when he said during the Western Conference finals that “the probabilities are great” he will return. But he also passed on a chance to say he’ll either be in L.A. or in retirement, obviously loving the banter and the chance to leave open the possibility he could be working elsewhere in 2010-11.

If word comes next week that Jackson does plan to stay with the Lakers and continue the stability that has delivered three consecutive conference titles and at least one NBA championship, it will not necessarily mean a contract is in place. That could either be a quick process if the sides have been putting the frame work of a new deal in place or go later in the summer as the sides negotiate without any pressing deadline.

But an important step could come before the draft.

“Hopefully,” Jackson said.

30 Comments

  1. Leprechaun says:

    BOOOOOOSSSTOOOONNNNNN!!!

    The lakers would never be in the finals for 3 consecutive years if there’s no presence of PHIL JACKSON, even though they have players like they have today but without Phil they’ll never have such accomplishments. So, I give my salute to PHIL JACKSON though I’m a BOSTON fan. Congratulations to PHIL JACKSON and HIS Laker team!!! RESPECT for the BOSTON CELTICS despite of insults that you guys have last season but STILL you PROVE IT that you are an ELITE TEAM. And to all CELTICS FANS out there don’t mind all the boooos,insults and trashtalk of those L.A. fans that’s the way they are let’s give them credit for being the champion but in REALITY they’re still the one who trails us one more championship and we are much more of an EDUCATED PEOPLE compared to THEM… RIGHT? WE CAN STILL COME BACK…. GO CELTICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. khandor says:

    None of the all-time great NBA players who have plied their trade under Phil Jackson would have amassed the same number of total championships won had they not been so fortunate, including Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, Although less talented coaches and their fans might like to think that these high calibre players could have still succeeded in a major way without the benefit of being coached, specifically, by the ZenMaster, this is not the case, at all. Average coaches fail to win even one NBA championship despite having tremendously talented players on their teams. Authentically elite level coaches, on the other hand, can sometimes qualify for the playoffs despite not having a slew of great players under their command and/or win multiple championships if they happen to have enough great players on their squad. The easiest thing in the world to do … is lose, even with a very talented team. While one of the hardest things in the world to do … is win the title when everyone already knows that you have the best team/talent in the association.

    Kudos to Phil Jackson … for succeeding while taking the road less-travelled. :-)

    • Cameron says:

      I totally agree with you. If you add up all the seasons Kobe, Jordan, Shaq, and Pippen had WITHOUT Phil Jackson as their coach, you get 35 seasons with 1 Title. Using the same method and counting individual seasons with Phil as the head coach, you get 20 combined Titles for these stars under Jackson. I mean, the guy is 48-0 when his team wins Game 1 of a playoff series. That should say it all right there. He is the greatest coach ever.

  3. jackie says:

    to the buss family, dont ever let phil jackson go. he is worth every penny of what you pay him.in fact, he is worth more than what you pay him. phil jackson will make history for the lakers, one that would not be duplicated. to let him go would be the biggest mistake you’ll ever make.

  4. bbenny says:

    Why all the debate. It’s very SIMPLE. If they win, Phil will come back, period. Come on now, he is a ZEN freak and all about symmetry, ying / yang etc. He won 3 in a row every time he won 1. He has two 3-peats with michael and the bulls. He will want to get two 3-peats with kobe and the Lakers. Besides, Kobe won’t let him stop one short of Mike… thats why he’s number 24, 1 more.

  5. anesha ajckson says:

    anywayss im happy that its all about lakers and no celtics they suck

  6. PistolPete says:

    To be honest, we are seeing a complete Lakers team, much like Jordan and the Bulls, I look at their team and I see almost the identical replacements from Jordan’s era to Bryant’s now. You had the Big three with Jordan, Pippen and Rodman, also Kerr etc. Lakers its Kobe, Artest, Gasol and Fisher. As much as I am a Celtic fan since time. Growing up through high school and now in University, I wont be surprised if Kobe wins back to back titles and starts a trend much like when Shaq was with the Lakers.

    To be honest Boston looks like its on its last legs. Garnett needs to play more inside presence if they are to win against the lakers, Pierce needs to make good shots. Allen needs to at least hit some shots. I mean how can you go for 32 points, than 4, than 10? Pure shooter or not, if your not making shots, dont take a billion and hope for them to finally fall, take it to the rack, and take elbow jimmy shots. Get foul shots going. Be smart when shooting. Also about Rondo, he needs to dish a double , double at least to win in this game 7. Since with Perkins gone its only going to be a matter of bench now.

    Now to relate about Phil, he is the greatest, I respected him when he coached Jordan, and I do the same now. Kobe isnt as arrogant since he won that title, its matured him and he is much better than Lebron, (4 championships to lebrons none) so doesnt matter what you say, Kobe is a better finisher, and thats what matters at the end of the game.

    Hope Phil does not leave the lakers, but somewhere on nba.com they are talking about him rumuroued going to chicago again? I dont want to speculate about lebron going there, or Nowitzski now. I just say that Phil keep on coaching. Hope you could coach Steve Nash for a few seasons maybe. Us in Canada would love the Kid Canada to win a championship before he retires :)

  7. backtoback says:

    Phil is the best coach in the history of the game. End of story. 10 rings with two different teams and styles of play. Number 11 coming tonight. I think he ought to stay one more year and get number 12, 4 three-peats with two teams. AMAZING!!! Red was good, but Phil knows what it takes to make players play for him, and has proven it time and time again.

    I hope he stays, 1 more run Phil, 1 more run…

  8. Krishna says:

    We love you Phil!! You’re the best!!!!! .. Looking at your face we gain enough confidence that victory is ours. We do not care where we are at any point .. we feel that victory is ours just because of you .. am a Lakers fan and a very BIG FAN of yours too!! You are the man!!! We are going to miss you!

  9. bballer says:

    yah, phil is the greatest….someone said he coached jordan and kobe that is why he became a good coach..if it is just because he coached two of the best players in the world then how about lebron ?..he is considered the king plus he was teamed with kobe’s partner shaq and nothing happened..they didn’t win a championship…one more thing—jordan had his core group of guys even before phil came.they were coached by doug collins but they also didn’t win until phil came…kobe and shaq were together prior to phil coming over but they too did not win until phil came..hope you see the logic there…that phil is the greatest…go lakers

    • snyder says:

      haha James got Shaq when he was what? 37? LeBron IS better than Kobe. In fact it is not even close. Look at the people the Lakers have been able to put around Kobe. Kudos to their organization for doing that. But you cannot sit there and say that Kobe won with Shaq, LeBron got Shaq, so therefore he should win with Shaq. That was 10 years ago. When you are over 300 pounds, 10 years is a long time.This is also a guy who averaged about 30 points and 10 rebounds per game, to 12 points and 8 rebounds a game. Of course they did not win. Use your head. The Lakers organization does a great job putting the people that Kobe needs on a team with him.

  10. jaberwacky says:

    If Phil decides not to retire, I think it would be best for him to stay with the Lakers and go for another championship run. The current Laker team has a balanced mix of youth and experience that can still go for 1 or even 2 more runs. Kobe and Paul are just hitting their prime,their young guns are just coming out of their shells and the team is just starting to gel. And with all the craziness around this year’s free agency shuffles, there will probably be only a few teams with intact line-ups next season. Staying with the Lakers would probably be better for his health.

    Go Lakers!

  11. Lakers123 says:

    Phil Jackson is one of the greatest coaches ever, right up there with Red Auerbach.

  12. Kwoon says:

    If Phil will leave, hire Pat riley again

  13. Mozambiquez says:

    I do believe that I only wants to leave LA, just to close his long carrer in the top…He (for me) is the most valius coach MVC.
    I did teams as anyother could do…

  14. knightdream says:

    Go Los Angeles (LA)! Go Lakers!!!

  15. Julius says:

    Phil Jackson The Zen master

  16. zzanzabar says:

    Phil, like all of the great current day coaches (Doc Rivers, Larry Brown, Popovich, etc) thrive on the challenge, and when that is no longer there they lose both their interest in the game and the respect of their players. No matter how successful a team there reaches a point where a long term coach (especially one with long term players) is just not heard anymore by the players. I mean how many times can a parent tell a child that fire will burn, or look both ways before crossing before it just begins to sound like a droning noise. Although this phenomenon is more prevalent in losing teams, it can curse winners as well (Denver for instance). That being said, I believe that John Downing’s previous post is correct, this team still has not reached its full potential (no that’s a scary thought) and Phil is about the only coach that can get them there.

    Are you listening Buss family? Do NOT go cheap on this one. Its not Phil who overpaid players beyond their worth (cough) Walton (cough). Nor was it Phil who assembled a virtual all star team, then watched that team crumble for lack of cohesion, then fired Phil because as though it was his fault. Pay the man the 12 million he his worth every dime. He has brought you numerous championships, and playoff appearances (not to mention 3 consecutive final appearances in last 3 years). He is one of the greatest coaches on one of the greatest NBA teams in history. Buss family you are building a legacy that will out live all of us.

  17. Valentin says:

    Last years Finals, This Years Finals; NEXT YEARS FINALS.
    way to go, Zen master, Way to GO!!!
    Love,
    3Ga – romania.

  18. qwer says:

    Phil Jackson also coached, Michael Jordan + Scottie Pippen, Shaq + Kobe and Kobe + Pau… I would not attribute most of that success to Phil seeing as he is very… minimal in his input. Having coached arguably the two greatest players in recent in the league is probably the reason why he has had so much success, not to mention the most dominant center of the 90’s and most of the 00’s as well…

    • Nicolas says:

      Yeah Phil may have coached arguably two of the best players in recent time of basketball but you have to give him the credit of outplaying their ego´s and making them play together to win. Phil is winner- breeder. He gave Jordan that almost supernatural thirst to win, and also teached to Kobe. He teached them to fuel themselves from the criticism, to win no matter what, to become accustomed to win. So i think he has a lot of credit cause only with the best player or two you cant win. You need to make it all work. Thats Phil

      • Lakers123 says:

        He also coached Dennis Rodman and Ron Artest, two of our generations most controversial players. I bet thats atleast as challenging as coaching Jordan and a young Kobe. Phil Jackson is the zen master and he will always be in the heart of all laker fans.

  19. Feras says:

    I think hw should stay , they’ve got a really good team there . With him on the sideline they can deffinetlly win one or 2 more .

  20. Yannaaa says:

    Honestly, I’m a Celtics fan and all. But yeah I gotta admit, Phil’s got such amazing coaching abilities.
    He has helped Lakers a lot and I can’t imagine Lakers without him.

  21. ALadIn Ferrer says:

    I love u Phil…

  22. ALadIn Ferrer says:

    Go Boston!!

  23. John Downing says:

    Hi Sekou,

    I can’t imagine Phil leaving the Lakers unless its for health reasons. This is one of the top teams in the league that still has not reached its full potential and is about to win a back-to-back championship.

  24. unf1 says:

    sorry my previous comment didnt relate. but what i meant to say was that i hope the lakers stay the same next year keeping their coaches.

  25. unf1 says:

    there is so much i could say . to make it simple phil jackson is the greatest there ever was, is, and will be. He notched his 224th career playoff victory in Game 6 2010, moving him past hockey Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman (223) for the most postseason wins by any coach in North America’s four major pro team sports — the NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball.