Lakers win again as Phil Jackson buzz amplifies
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES – The chants of “We want Phil” rained down yet again on Sunday night at the Staples Center, where the anticipation of so many Lakers fans continued to grow over the possible return of their Zen Master.
Yet for all the local clamoring for a Phil Jackson reunion that still appears likely, there’s at least one person in Laker Land who would be just fine if the team settled for its No. 2 candidate: Steve Nash. The Lakers point guard would be just fine if he had a reunion of his own, as former Phoenix and New York coach Mike D’Antoni is considered the runner-up to Jackson in this race to replace the fired Mike Brown. They shared special times with the Suns, four seasons of Seven-Seconds-or-Less bliss from 2004 to 2008 that marked the high point of both of their storied careers.
“Obviously with Mike, everyone knows how I feel about him,” Nash, who is out with a non-displaced fracture in his left fibula at least until Friday, told USA TODAY Sports after the Lakers downed Sacramento 103-90 to improve to 3-4. “It’d be a seamless fit for me.”
While D’Antoni discussed the job with Lakers officials over the weekend as a backup plan in case Jackson declines, Nash said he had not spoken with his old coach recently. He is excited about the prospect of playing for Jackson, too, even if they won’t have the familiarity factor.
If Jackson does indeed reach a deal with the Lakers in coming days, the question of how Nash will fit into the triangle offense that deemphasizes the point guard position will be front and center. Nash, who may be the best pick-and-roll point guard of all time, acknowledged that it would be a major adjustment.
“I don’t know (how he’d be in the triangle), but I’m excited for the challenge and the opportunity to do it,” he said. “I don’t have any experience with it, so I don’t really have any predictions. But in the big picture, I’m just excited…If I did have the chance to play for Phil and run that system, it’d … [For more on Lakers win again as Phil Jackson buzz amplifies, click here.]