Rumor: Phil Jackson had significant influence on Lakers coaching search

Phil Jackson
Apr 6, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks general manager Phil Jackson watches during the second quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers coaching search spanned one month and had multiple embarrassing moments for the franchise. Ultimately, the organization hired Frank Vogel with Jason Kidd signed on as a “prominent” assistant.

More interesting than the team’s new coaches was the hiring process itself, namely in who the decision makers for the Lakers were.

Jeanie Buss seems to have been heavily involved and general manager Rob Pelinka was reported to be in charge of the search. Buss’ close friends and advisers Kurt and Linda Rambis also emerged as major voices in the room.

However, rumors and reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin seem to indicate that former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson also had a significant influence in the Lakers’ coaching search, namely in hiring Vogel who was a candidate to replace Derek Fisher in New York when Jackson was the team’s president.

Jackson’s tenure in New York was not goink did not go well. His outsized influence on Buss and Lakers’ management seems entirely based on his relationship with those who still run the franchise years after he left it.

Since Magic Johnson resigned as president of basketball operations, the Lakers have been left without any sort of hierarchical structure in their front office. Pelinka was supposedly the new decision maker but it seems clear that Buss is being swayed by Jackson and the Rambii and that, as a result, the organization is not on the same page.

If Vogel works out, then it won’t matter how they came to hire him. But this sort of decision-making process has been a trend for years and has been amplified as soon as the Lakers became close to reaching contending status. It’s not inspiring for a team looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

2 thoughts

  1. Phil Jackson (who has more than 10 championship rings) and Kurt Rambis know more about basketball than most people and surely more than most of the judgmental media types…why don’t we let them do their job.

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