While the Los Angeles Lakers search for their next head coach, there are still a few question marks that surround the team, namely the front office.
The conclusion of next season is the time frame that Lakers part-owner and vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss pitched the self-proposed deadline to have the team back contending for the Western Conference crown. Him and general manager Mitch Kupchak certainly have their work cut out for them, coming off a 17-win season, the worst in franchise history.
If the Lakers are not back in contention next season, Buss vowed to step aside from his current role and let someone else assume it. As to who would fill that position, there has been really only one name that has been rumored: Phil Jackson.
Jackson was the head coach of the Lakers for their five most recent championships, adding to his six titles he won with the Chicago Bulls. He is currently the president of the New York Knicks, trying to rebuild the franchise that he played for.
To this point, a return to Los Angeles for Jackson has been nothing but rumors. But as Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times and Basketball Insiders suggests, there might be more to it.
Granted, the possibility of this scenario playing out is over a year away, but one would be obliged to assume that where there is smoke, there is fire. As I mentioned, Jackson is really the only name that has been linked to the potential job opening. If Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak are unable to pull off a miracle and rebuild the Lakers into a contender in one offseason, they could both be ousted by part-owner, governor and president Jeanie Buss, who is engaged to Jackson.
Jeanie has made it clear when asked about Jim’s deadline that she will hold him accountable if the time comes. She has also adamantly denied that Jackson would be the one to replace her brother.
As for what it means for Kupchak, that remains uncertain. He could potentially assume his role as general manger even with Jackson coming aboard, but would likely have to give up a large share of the basketball decision making.
The Lakers have generally always been an appealing job for potential coaching candidates, but with the uncertainty surrounding the front office, there is some debate on whether this could have an effect on the interest of the top coaching options.