Report: Phil Jackson “significantly involved” in Lakers coaching search

Phil Jackson
Credit: Frank Franklin II/AP

The 2022 NBA Playoffs have not disappointed so far. From Ja Morant’s heroics to even the series against the Golden State Warriors, to the thrilling series between the Milwaukee Bucks and that ugly green team from the New England area, it has been great basketball to watch. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they will have to wait until next year to be a part of playoff basketball. First things first, they need a new head coach and they have brought in a familiar face in Phil Jackson to help with the search.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Jackson will definitely be involved in the process of finding the next Laker head coach:

“This is very much a committee in L.A. putting together this coaching search. And one person who is certainly significantly involved in this process is Phil Jackson. He’s got a voice in this. He did last time when they hired Frank Vogel. He and Kurt Rambis, [Vogel] had been somebody they had considered with the Knicks before hiring Derek Fisher in New York… They’re moving deliberately. They’re not doing seven or eight or nine candidates all at once. They’re kind of going down a list and taking their time with it. I think that process is going to take a bit.”

For some, this is not surprising. Jackson won five championships here and was romantically linked to owner Jeanie Buss for quite some time. So it makes sense the Zen Master has returned to the purple and gold unofficially to help with this very important task.

On the flip side though, Jackson was not very successful as an executive. Don’t get me wrong, as a coach, he’s arguably the best to ever do it, but just ask Knicks fans how they feel about him. On top of that, Jackson has not had the best relationship with LeBron James since he referred to his circle of friends as a “posse” and that didn’t sit well with Bron. It seems like those ill feelings are still lingering.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, some people are against Jackson being involved in the process.

“Make no mistake, there are powerful people close to the Lakers who aren’t thrilled with the reality that Jackson’s voice is being taken into account when he has no formal position with the franchise. Like it or not, though, Buss has relied on this sort of informal counsel from people she trusts for years now.”

In addition, Amick points out that Phil Jackson was a fan of Russell Westbrook during his coaching career, making it seem like Jackson may be pushing the Lakers towards maybe keeping him for next year.

Not sure if there is anybody more powerful than LeBron James. It is safe to assume that James along with Klutch are not very happy with Jackson being in the mix. All this comes as LeBron enters the final year of his contract, so from that perspective it does not make sense to anger your franchise player who can leave after next season.

James and his camp have always been very influential with their respective teams, for the Lakers to cut them out of the process at this point will not make for a happy ending. Let’s not forget how bad the Lakers were before LeBron arrived. Now, as the Lakers look for a new leader on the bench, will their other leader be on board with the decision?

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