Will Phil Jackson Follow Pat Riley And Open A New Chapter?

If Phil Jackson heeds the “We want Phil!” chants dropped like an anvil by the Staples Center crowd Friday night, the Zen Master will follow again in the footsteps of that other multi-title-winning Lakers coach — Pat Riley.

Rewind to the 2005-06 season. Riley’s return to the Miami Heat bench 21 games in doesn’t mirror the current circumstance that has fallen into Phil’s lap, but it’s not all that dissimilar either.

No, Jackson isn’t the president of the Lakers organization as Riley was and remains with the Heat when the then-60-year-old Riley horse-collared Stan Van Gundy into resigning nine days before Christmas.

Still, Jackson’s aura eternally twinkles above the Lakers franchise like a magical puff of — oh, you get the picture. Seven years ago Riley couldn’t resist the urge to return to the bench and coach a team he built not only to contend, but to win. The question in front of Jackson, now 67, is does he have the irresistible urge to return?

The suspense is palpable as the stage is spectacularly set for a hero’s return to save the day.

In the summer of 2004, Riley acquired Shaquille O’Neal in his divorce from Kobe Bryant, seeking a championship companion for his own young star, Dwyane Wade. Van Gundy and the boys won 59 games and advanced to the East finals against Detroit, only to lose Game 7 at home.

When the Heat sluggishly opened the ’05-’06 season 11-10, Riley returned, and the rest is history.

His team won 41 of the next 61 games, knocked off the Pistons in six games in the East finals and then oversaw one of the more remarkable comebacks in Finals history, rallying from a near-certain 3-0 hole to beat the Dallas Mavericks in six games.

With Kobe running short on time to capture a sixth title and catch Jackson’s original star pupil with the Chicago Bulls, the Lakers seized the offseason, trading for the second coming of Superman, three-time defensive player of the year Dwight Howard, and sure-fire hall of fame point guard Steve Nash. With Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace, the quintet is easily the most decorated starting unit in basketball.

The results, 1-12 counting the preseason, shoved the bespectacled, mouth-agape Mike Brown out the door before Veterans Day.

It’s seems apparent: the job is Phil’s if he wants it. Other candidates are out there. Mike D’Antoni changed the face of offense in the NBA and, if not for injuries and bad luck, just might have won a title or two with Nash in Phoenix. The great Jerry Sloan is also available.

Yet there is really only one man for this job. The only man with 11 rings. The only man larger than even the star-studded starting five he’d oversee.

Riley did what he believed he had to do, and he achieved the fairy-tale ending.

We’ll soon know if Jackson wants to re-open the book and begin a new chapter. He’s had a long and brilliant career.

Happy endings aren’t always guaranteed.


  1. dijaybanger says:


  2. marilyn says:

    noone wants to hear from non laker fans continue drinking your hater aid and leave the comments to true fans. how many rings does your player have? my player has 5 beautiful rings. lmao

  3. Blobber says:

    I agree with someone’s comment. Buy ur rings if ur all hungry for one. LA got the money. Whats stopping them?

  4. Juice says:

    If The Zen Master’s back, they gonna do it!

    P-Jax could win the title with freakin’ Hornets, if he wanted to.

    (Altough I’m a huge Celtic fan, I would cheer for LaLa-Kers as well, if they were in Jacksons hands.)

    Hope to see you back in the league Master!

  5. IpreferJackson says:

    I don’t think Phil Jackson would bother to accept the job offer. He knows that there’s the OKC team in which the Lakers cannot totally match up in terms of speed and good defense. He also knows that Miami Heat have the players whom the Lakers cannot compete! If he does accept though, then there’s a 90% chance that the shame he had in 2011 would curse him more! But I still prefer Phil Jackson more than the other candidates! Basketball would be more fun to watch……

  6. The Facts says:

    Bill Russell Has 13 rings 11 as a player 2 as a coach. Phil Jackson 13 rings also 2 as a player 11 as a coach.

  7. W/E says:

    The bottom line is that the lakers are old and crippled,no matter what Jim Buss do their chances for winning a ring this year are very very slim,nash kobe and D12 will never stay healthy in this season,the bench is not good enough to give em a relief when needed,if they manage to make it in they playoffs they r gunna have to play heavy minutes and it all ends there from old age and exhaustion, their crippled injured old bodies wont last long enough.

  8. mrnoozik says:

    JERRY SLOAN is the right man for the job!!! The motion offense and pick n roll sets will serve Steve Nash, Pau Gasol & Dwight Howard best, lets not forget how EFFECTIVE the infamous “Kobe System” is inside 2:00 against most teams!!!


  9. duyp says:

    I was like..” who the hell is p-jax?” will people stop shortening the names! it does not make it sound cooler!

  10. LA_PITY says:

    At the very beginning I thought they already had a superteam so why need Phil? If things won’t work out with Phil, what’s gonna be the next alibi? Maybe signing 1 or 2 more superstars I guess. Peace!

  11. Jay says:

    We Want Phil.!!!!!!

  12. dennicious says:

    nobody does it better like phil jackson..
    im sure he will accept the offer and get one more championship for the lakers…

  13. StopTheHeat! says:

    I want Phil Jackson to take over…. I want to see what approach he will take to beat the HEAT! For me only the Zen Master has the key on how to stop LeBron James and the HEAT!!!!!

  14. lbj says:

    trade for lebron

    hecan coach

  15. NIbasketball says:

    Phil Jackson? Jerry Sloan? Mike D’antoni? Pfft please, we all know it’s Scalabrine the Lakers need

  16. cliff says:

    How does Phils system not fit Nash? Phils system requires a smart point guard to be able to dish the ball. Thus why he kept Fisher so long. Fish wasn’t a great athlete but he knew the PG’s role. Personally, I think the perfect coach for the system L.A wants to run is Jeff Van Gundy. He’s a def guy who liked to run. He’d be a perfect fit aside from Phil but eitherway, LA needs to improve their bench. I’d bring in Delonte West and Raja Bell and kick Blake and Duhon. Then trade out Artest for some young guy. Raja would fill Artests spot fine.

  17. Jasmoove says:

    Phil Jackson is the best choice for the lakers.. well if he wants to coach again the lakers if not better find another Veteran coach like Larry Brown, Don Nelson, some kind of an old school Coach

  18. VegasLakersFan702 says:

    For those who are uninformed, Phil won 2 titles as a player with the Knicks in 1970 and 1973. Plus the 11 he won as head coach does indeed give him 13. Bill Russell won 11 titles as a player/coach. Bill is the player with the most rings. Phil has the most rings period.

  19. Jay Green says:

    LOL phil is what they need
    I see a lot of LAKER Haters on here lol yall should stop don’t be mad your team is garbo
    Mike Brown was weak LA did not respect him because morris weak self did not respect him…how does that happen?
    Give us phil and we win the next two and kobe goes out on top

    • dattebayo says:

      When Barkley came to Houston, Drexler and Olajuwon had just won the Rockets 2nd straight title. the Sonics and Utah ended their dreams in the next years, they didn’t get it done. Payton and Malone were on their way out and the Pistons smothered their title dreams in 2004. This Laker team is too old, Nash and Gasol are defensive liabilities and the only solid perimeter defender is slow footed Artest who struggles to make jumpers like few in the league do. Nash and Kobe are great shooters, but there is no one else. This team is flawed and overrated and they won’t win, not this year and not next year and PJ won’t change that. Few people go out on top, but MJ didn’t, Phil got swept by Dallas and Kobe will not go out on top either.

  20. alpriteze says:

    dont compare russel and phil.
    russel was the greatest achiever as a player.
    jackson was the greatest achiever as a coach.

    it’s not everyday phil can win every game at lakers.
    but what we need is motivation with this star studded line up.

    go go go lakers!!

  21. LLL says:

    I love that you quoted DEVO in this story (irresistible urge).

  22. Kobe24Pau16Howard12Nash10 says:

    Phil jackson is the best coach of the LAKERS franchise.. get him now, i know he is the key to win another Championship title.

    • CRYsis says:

      I don’t think they could afford him now. Lakers management can’t spend 15-20M per year for Phil and I think its not just Mike Brown’s fault. Mostly the Lakers are injured guys and they can’t perform 100%. Unfortunately, business wise, this is not good and with people investing early before the season began, the management got pressured big time. Mike Brown for me Became a scapegoat which I think is unfair. If they are going to have a new coach, Brian Shaw would be a safer bet. Both Bryant and Phil approved of him before Mike was chosen and because Bryant approves of him that he will listen to him.

      • L.A. ALL DAY says:

        LOL CRYsis, they cant’ afford him??? The lakers are more than 30 million over the luxury tax because they CAN afford to be. They are the biggest money maker in all sports and the have the luxury of collecting over 2 billion dollars with the TimeWarner cable deal. Paying a coach doesn’t affect the team payroll. If anyone can afford to pay Phil his 10-15 million trust me they can and it won’t even put a dent in the books.

  23. LA-OSERS1224 says:

    WHY DON’T ALL OF U JUST CHIP IN AND BUY THE RINGS!!!! paying over 100 mill for super team and now phil u still won’t win LA dynasty is over and its awesome

  24. Kobe-Dwight-Pau-Nash-Jodie@Manila says:

    I was suggesting Phil since last year.. No one listens.. Now we are all clamouring for him.. Go PHIL.. We need your services very badly..

  25. Brandon Vondera says:

    Great article Jeff. you had me from “Phil Jackson’s aura, all the way to happy endings…”

  26. JC Yap says:

    Bus is the one that’s making the Lakers bad not the players and coaches he should listen to the players sometimes

  27. Gfiftytwo says:

    Phil’s career did not have a happy end, so he’s not done yet …

  28. kobeng burat says:

    after firing coach brown whats next? lbj bring cavs to the finals with who? I know they got swept… but The Spurs are too much for them… infact too much for everyone… cavs 1 star… best record went to the finals….

    lakers 4 stars whats their record?… 1 win??? lol

  29. WE WANT PHIL says:

    Reply by saying like if u want Phil back!!!

  30. ragpicker says:

    lakers should look a coach who can control Kobe Brayant, kobe is a certified ball hugger. he has a 5 rings because of Shaq and gasol,

  31. Phil Jackson was interviewed about eight months or so by a correspondent from the HBO sports series,”Real Sports” with host Bryant Gumbel. He was interviewed at his home in Montana. He was asked what he had been doing since retiring. He said that he had a few physical problems addressed. He was asked if he could coach again, and if so would he consider coaching again. Phil said that he knew he could do it physically. And Phil said he would be open to potential offers by teams. However, he would only entertain returning to coach for a team with the chance of winning a championship. Serendipity? I hope so. Phil is the best coach ever. And how could one not respect the man on a personal level.

  32. Phil will be back because Mr. Buss will make it happen. When you are the owner, you can pull strings that no one else can. Remember, Phil is dating or married to his daughter. It’s all in the family my friends. When daddy says come to play, the children always do as daddy says.

  33. i don’t think a coaching change will really help much, behind the socially correct answers about teamwork in interviews i still believe this team’s main problem is ego overload

  34. John Doe says:

    Come on guys – Phil Jackson is old, as is Jerry Sloan. Let them have their retirement. D’Antoni? He might be a good track coach – but defense still wins championships. So please no! Even though Brian Shaw isn’t proven yet – get him – along with Derek Fisher. And let Eddie Jordan go as well.

  35. Jordan says:

    Obviously try to get Phil Jackson. If not, I’m fine with Brian Shaw. Then get Derek Fisher from the couch he’s sitting on and also get Raja Bell for cheap because I can’t always trust MWP. And go Lakers!!

  36. vicpinto says:

    Everyone says bring back Phil (which I think should be the first priority), but i dont think its going to happen. he’s retired, and probably doesnt want to come back. Sloan may not mesh well with the enormous personalities of the team and D’Antoni has been known to not incorporate a low post presence in his offenses… I think Brian Shaw would make an excellent option. Phil wanted him to be his replacement and he is highly respected by a lot of players in the NBA, and most importantly, Kobe.
    Seems like an easy choice to me

  37. Will says:

    i think jax should come back even though his old he still has the brain and thats the important thing for the coach. if jax returns i think lakers will be unstopable. mike brown is a good coach guy won the coach of the year award in 2009 and i think last year he did a good thing with the lakers defence. its just luck wasnt on his side this year and i think it was a little bit too early desicion to fire mike but if jax doesnt return i think the best guy is mike d because what lakers need is the offense right now you have the 3 year defensive player of the year. kobe who made to atleas first team defence everyear and metta world peace. mike made a mistake by making ron more offensive because back in 2010 ron said he would sacrifice his offence for la defence and that was the right desicion i think jax needs to return that would be dope.. and i hope la can make the finals this season and win it all with phill that would be awesome carrer end for phily and then next year they should hire tony or jerry that the thing i think they should do. give jax 1 year contract because he retired like 2 times guy is a legend he needs some rest

  38. JUICE says:

    Phil is coming. Almost for certain. I can even hear his footsteps closing in


    • tyrone says:

      Mike Brown probably has the worst strategy of all time. Princeton offense doesn’t work in today’s NBA. Either go with D’Antoni’s P&R system except with better defense. Or J.Sloan’s version of the P&R since he can turn the big four into a pair of P&R duos. (Nash & Howard, KB & Gasol)

  40. Grapes Fandangger says:

    Phil will come back if he really wants to, sure he’s older thats the point. He’s old enough to know if he can handle it or not and if it is truly what he wants. If he wants to come back it will happen thats for sure, NOW. The next question will be, “what about derek fisher”.

    • Scott The Magician says:

      The question is not what about fisher,,,hes old and slow and we already have one of those in LA….the real question should be WHERES ALLEN IVERSON???………….


      • tyrone says:

        A.I will create chemistry issues and A.I gambles too much so we don’t want him to get suspended. Get J.Sloan or D.Fisher.

  41. Paolo says:

    At this situation, especially for kobe era. I think the very best coaching is phil’s coaching. Aside from, triangle offense of phil, kobe got five rings with phil. And kobe was comfortable with phil.and the kind of active players in LA now will be fit with the system or triangle offense of phil.they’re really know each other. For kobe this will be running out of time this season…..

  42. Kobe fans says:

    is either Phil Jackson or just sit and die.

  43. kings says:

    didn’t phil win two in new york as a player, putting him at 13 rings?

  44. jlovelee34 says:

    Kobe should be the coach

    • tyrone says:

      No get D.Fisher if he does retire since he played with Kobe before so he knows how to get Nash to work with him. Kobe and D.Fisher won 5 rings together am I correct?

  45. Bryan says:

    I will go with MikeD’Antoni as the next Lakers head coach though I love Phil. Triangle offense doesn’t need a point guard and the Lakers have the best point guard with Steve Nash, they should capitalize Nash abilities rather than bottling him up again with other system.


    • Hm says:

      Best PG? Maybe around the time Stockton retired and he had his first three seasons in Phoenix… He’s been on the decline ever since. And the following season (’07-’08) Chris Paul made his mark.

  46. killuabest says:

    will bring championship rings to LA LAND..
    1.PJAX…80-90 %

    2.SLOAN..about 75-80%

    3.D.Antoni..about 60-70%

    Buss this is d formula..make it…fast..

  47. Gentledeeh says:

    Phil or Brian, please no Mike D’Antoni that would be more disaster

  48. Game Time says:

    Phil’s not coming back. He knows that he can’t turn this around in a short amount of time and with Nash out. Lakers need to stop trying to get everything they want. Just work with what you have because it’s already MUCH more than other teams have.

  49. Iron2Hyde says:

    All I can say about this headline is directed to P.JAX and him only, I know your out there chilling at the ranch up in Montana, saw the recent report that they did on you and the jokes you cracked about why you wouldn’t coach the Knicks and Orlando being too far from home, had a good laugh off those, however a new challenge has arose in Laker town, it was ugly how you went out against Dallas a few seasons ago, REAL UGLY, they threw you to the Wolves (You know of whom I speak) Well you’ve had a chance to rest up and recuperate from injuries sustained from Bryant and Co,,,lol, as we all know Michael Jordan once retired because he said he had nothing more to prove in the NBA, but ended up coming back 3 times because he had that itch, even though you have 11 titles under your belt, and the NBA is a very hard grind, 70 plus more games to go this season, the LAKER roster is in need of some real help, that’s the Challenge Phil, if there is no other coach that can pull this off, its you, One year deal at the right price of course…lol, it can be done, like with the Bulls, this is the LAST DANCE all over again, Kobe Bean is motivated, Nash/Howard deserve there first ring, you can get these guys going and bring in that team chemistry that they are lacking, you made fun of Spoelstra when Miami was losing when the big three came together a few years ago but he still got them to the finals that year, lets see how good you can do with this current Laker squad, we both know the way you went out in the 10-11 season was horrific, probably plays in your mind like a band tune over and over again, time to get back up like King Arthur did in the movie Excalibur and lead your knights to victory, will it be the return of the ZENMASTER ??? I leave that question to you.

    • W/E says:

      lol Jackson has nothing to prove to anyone,even if he comes back this lakers team is nowhere near its prime considering the 4 stars,D12 and gasol are painful to watch…

    • Scott The Magician says:

      lol sweet comment, i hope he reads it and even more so i hope beyond hope he comes back…..if not for himself or bean, than for Kid Canada…i really wantnash to win

  50. Bryan says:

    Phil has 13 rings. Don’t forget he played with the Knicks in the 70’s. Perhaps you mean 11 rings as coach.

  51. Chris says:

    if phil returns the lakers are no doubt the greatest team of all time especially when you have 4 future hall of famers and arguably the greatest coach of all time

    • tyrone says:

      Or they could end up like the 04 Lakers gettin send out of the ballpark by the 04 Pistons led by Rip Hamilton, Billups, B and R wallace, and Tayshaun Prince. They’ll meet the same fate.

  52. michael says:

    mmm well phil jackson is pretty old but i dont say he is bad, i think he has been the best coach in the nba so far and having jordan and kobe has been something important throught his career, no doubt about it, but i mean, why did he go, did jackson was tired of coaching, we dont really know, but i think he deserves to rest now, what i mean in other way is that phil jackson will not live forever, do you want him to be an old guy in a sit for the rest of his life coaching, no, absolutely not, and kobe will retire soon, it is still worthy having him for a while, if he really wants to make the comeback, which i doubt, i will hire him for at least a year…no more. and for the lakers fans, i mean i have seen the voting poll in the nba.com and evryone wants phil jackson to come back. well i see them praying for him to come back, i mean, do they really are so bad to win when this year they still dont have the chance, this year is miami year there is no discussion into that, by the way, whatever the decision phil jackson makes, well i wish him good luck and for the rest of his family

    • GoGogadgetGo says:

      Theres a big discussion into that michael, I haven’t seen one sport team repeat since the yankees yet, and I doubt the heat will again. Theyve been exposed and the playoffs will prove that.(no big man)

      • Rowy says:

        The Heat can still aquire a BIG man during the season, if they need one

      • asabney2685 says:

        yeah not a chance the heat repeat, longer season plus now they have that “target” on their back. look for a shocker this year, very much like dallas in 10-11, i dont think anyone that we think is going to win it all this season will take it. knicks and sixers (my pick for the east) look strong and so does chicago in the east, as for the west san antonio, the clippers and and a healthy minnesota team could be dangerous.

  53. Patty says:

    Kobe Bryant needs Phil Jackson and this is the reason Phil Jackson should return to the Lakers.

    Jim Buss should be ashame of himself putting Mike Brown as the coach of the Lakers. Mike Brown came in the wrong way. Brown listened to Buss and went aganist Kobe. Buss must ask Kobe who do you want to coach the Lakers?

  54. Scott says:

    This would be the most talented team Action Jackson has ever coached. How could he resist?

  55. Rainman says:

    ahem, Steve Nash? Phil Jackson would misuse him in the triangle just as Brown misused him in the princeton…Gimme D’aintoni.

  56. ko0kie says:

    he shouldn’t come back… as brilliant coach as he is.

  57. Fuller says:

    the Lakers should look into to hiring Jeff Van Gundy he is really a good coach and did heck of a job when he was with the Knicks….

  58. Willy says:

    Phil has been there and done that already. Ok, say he comes back and they play .500 ball, make the playoffs then lose to the Spurs? Will he come back another year? Not! So why come back? This ain’t no Hollywood movie is it? What does Jack Nicholsen want the Lakers to do? Ridiculous! Stay retired and enjoy Phil! Then you won’t have to listen to Shaquille critic DH and KobeOne!

  59. a;fjdksa;lfdsa says:

    So The Heat were down 3-0 in the 2005-2006 Finals, and came back to win it in 6 games? Seems legit.

  60. Quantum Yuri says:

    Well written! I’d like to see Phil back, though the two other coaches aren’t bad. I was glad that Mike Brown got fired – maybe the players even intentionally played badly during the first few games to get him fired!

  61. Carlos F. says:

    Although both D’antoni and Sloan are great coaches, the bottom line is that we need Phil Jackson back if we want the Lakers to make the playoffs at this stage.

    • MHM 35 says:

      Stop it. Lakers fans that say “we” make the rest of us Lakers fans look bad by saying “we” as if we’re part of the team. We are a fanbase. We are not the Lakers box office.


      • ranfan says:

        Lol but people do that with a bunch of teams, even with football. It does irk me slightly though sometimes.

  62. John John says:

    the only man with 11 rings? you mean besides bill russell?

  63. AllstarJJ says:

    Go for Phil Jackson, hes the best, no other option
    get him now
    he’s the best

    WE WANT PHIL!!!!!!

  64. Gundy says:

    Fire Dwight, bring back Shaq!

    • pakyaw says:

      why all this Lakers fan always have excuses, lets say, they get Phil again ,and still doesnt work out..,what you Lakers fan next excuse? bring Odom back?coz no bench?…it’s gonna be hard for them,especially in this stage of their carrer(Kobe,Nash)….on their prime, yes,maybe it will work out …

    • ranfan says:

      Shaq retired mainly because of injuries, as did Yao. There’s no point in coming back.