By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Phil Jackson could be returning to the Los Angeles Lakers. According to Orange County Register’s Mark Heisler, it could happen.
Jackson has an opt-out clause in his contract that will allow him to leave on July 1, 2017. He’s engaged to Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss — which makes it possible that he could return to Hollywood.
The situation is “fluid,” according to the report. This rumor has been going on for quite some time, even earlier this month.
“Jackson and his fiance, Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss, both deny it’s happening,” Heisler wrote. “That’s absolutely true … as far as it goes … until Phil’s opt-out on July 1, 2017, with insiders close to both saying he could still wind up with the Lakers.
“Not that Jackson is sitting around thinking about the Lakers at present with other immediate challenges, like sticking it to everyone who says he can’t do his present job.”
Jackson is getting paid $12 million a year by the Knicks. This season, the Knicks are .500 at 8-8, while the Lakers are also .500 at 9-9.
“I’d make the odds 50-50 since it doesn’t take as much as it once did to please Knicks fans,” he added. “Leaving out the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season when the team reached the NBA Finals as a No. 8 seed before being mowed down by San Antonio, the Knicks haven’t been an elite team since Pat Riley left – 21 years ago, so long ago that Jackson was coaching the Bulls and had won only three of his 11 titles.
“Knicks fans who once demeaned Patrick Ewing for not winning a title, would now be ecstatic with a playoff finish, having seen just three the last 12 seasons. Lo and behold, the team went into the weekend at 7-7, in the thick of the East race! Well, for the eighth slot, anyway.”
Jackson led the Lakers to multiple championships — five to be exact. But with the young group of players and Luke Walton in charge, can Jeanie or even her brother Jim — who has been criticized for making bad decisions in the past — rely on the past to bring them into the future?