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NBA PM: Phil Jackson Back With The Lakers
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On June 20, 2013 @ 5:00 pm In NBA | No Comments
USA TODAY Sports' Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt preview Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals.Watch More Video Here
Los Angeles Lakers fans have gotten what they wanted and chanted for.
Well, kind of.
Phil Jackson is back with the organization, but in an unofficial “consultant” role, not as head coach as many Laker fans, and players, hoped for back at the beginning of the season. The news was revealed last night at a Time Warner Cable event in which Jackson was there to represent the Lakers along with his fiancee Jeanie Buss and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.
“We discussed some things, me and Mitch in the past couple of weeks, bouncing things around,” Jackson said to ESPN’s Arash Markazi. “That’s been something that has happened. It’s not something I expect them to rely on me for information, but I’m there to offer it. Not so much advice. Explaining the program that they’re headed toward down the road and resolutions they had in the past and trying to clean that up and talk about some of the things in the future that are different ways in which they can resolve the issues. They asked if I can be of assistance. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll help in whatever area you need to have help.’”
“He’s over at the facility every now and then for obvious reason,” Kupchak said. “I’ll see him then. We have reason to talk by phone every now and then. Obviously his accomplishments here, and the relationship with Jeanie, create an environment that we’re susceptible to dialogue with a basketball person like Phil. If he was working for another team, it wouldn’t be the same.”
Jackson passed on various opportunities this summer, both coaching and executive offers from other teams across the league. He does not have a defined, set role within the Lakers organization yet, but he definitely has a growing presence.
Jackson’s return comes just as the Lakers are set to enter the most important free agent battle they’ve been in since Kobe Bryant hit the open market in 2004. At that time the Los Angeles Clippers were making a very convincing pitch to Bryant, but ultimately the Lakers made the moves they needed to (trading Shaquille O’Neal) to make sure they didn’t lose one of the biggest stars in franchise history.
“I bet on Dr. Buss being able to do what he said he could do,” Bryant said recently in an interview on 710 ESPN in Los Angeles. “Ultimately, that was it. I would have been a fool to go anyplace else.”
The Lakers are in a similar position with All-Star center Dwight Howard. When they acquired Howard last summer in a blockbuster four-team deal, they introduced him as someone whose jersey they hope to hang in the rafters along with Wilt Chamberlain’s, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar’s and all of the other Laker greats.
However, Howard’s lone season with the Lakers could not have gone worse. The team had three different head coaches throughout the season, they were never fully healthy and they ended up being swept in the first round of the playoffs, after very nearly missing the postseason all together.
During that time, everything that could make Howard sour on being a Laker occurred. He was constantly criticized for his play that was subpar by his standards due to injury, misused by new head coach Mike D’Antoni and frustrated by the team’s lack of success.
That has open the door for teams like the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks to feel like they have a chance to lure Howard away in free agency.
In the same radio interview Bryant said keeping Howard was a “must” for the Lakers, but the man who helped ease Bryant’s uncertainties passed away in February. Could Jackson, who Howard wanted to replace Brown and has been in contact with him in recent months, do as Buss did then with Bryant and make sure Howard stays? It’s something he wants to do.
“I’m backing her and trying to find a way to bring the team back to prominence through getting a contract resolution going and signing the people they have to sign and find ways where they’re mobile enough to have the talent that they have to have soon,” Jackson said. “That’s a tall order for anybody. She has a basketball management group with Mitch and her brother working on one end. She balances that out by bouncing it on my head once in a while.”
Celtics, Clippers Deal Faces Another Hurdle: The Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics re-engaged in trade talks that involved Kevin Garnett, the rights to negotiate with head coach Doc Rivers and one of their longer contracts going to the Clippers in exchange for DeAndre Jordan and draft picks.
“I would say, uh, in the language of diplomacy that the teams are aware that the Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t authorize trades involving coaches contracts,” Stern said on ESPN Radio. “The only consideration that can be done here in player transactions is other players, draft picks and a very limited amount of cash. But coaches contracts don’t qualify as extra consideration or acceptable consideration in player transactions. The teams know that. It has been confirmed to them. And, what the rules won’t allow can’t be gotten around by breaking it up into two transactions.”
League rules clearly state that every transaction must be done independently of any other deal. So, the Clippers may have to compensate the Celtics separately to negotiate with Rivers and assure the league that the Garnett-Jordan swap is completely independent from anything involving Rivers.
2012-13 NBA Champions Will Be Crowned Tonight: The 2013 NBA Finals will come to a close tonight with the decisive Game 7 set to tip at 9 pm est.
The series has been back and forth so far, with neither team being able to win consecutive games. However, the Miami HEAT is coming off of a come-from-behind Game 6 victory that left the Spurs admittedly devastated. They also have the fortune of playing at home, perceivably giving them a slight advantage, but the Spurs have proven they should never be counted out.
As important as both team’s role players have been throughout the season, this is the stage where stars shine the brightest. There will be multiple Hall of Famers on the floor and their legacies will definitely be impacted by the game’s outcome. With that said, we want to know:
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