Los Angeles Lakers News, Rumors: Will Phil Jackson Return To LA Next Offseason?
The Zen Master has already denied he's planning to fly back to Los Angeles. However, the rumor hasn't died down. In fact, the speculation grew further than before. Question is, will New York Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson finally return to Los Angeles Lakers next offseason?
"Not Now," Says Jackson
"They're moving forward in the right direction," the 71-year-old architect of three three-peat championships (Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers) told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan. "It was never important to me to go back [to Los Angeles Lakers] and be a part of that, especially not now. I have this job, this commitment."
So where does this speculation of Jackson returning to LA came from? Lakers part-owner and EVP of basketball operations Jim Buss said that should team fail to make it to the playoffs this season, he would step down. Jim is Jeanie's brother, Jackson's fiancé.
Jackson explained that the opt-out clause in his contract is related to a lockout possibility in 2017. "There was no way I was going to sit in New York for three, four months when I didn't have a job, because [the players] aren't even allowed to show up to work. So, in that case, I would go back to L.A." He's referring to his house in Los Angeles; not returning as part of Los Angeles Lakers.
Why say "not now"? Is he planning to go back to the Lakers franchise after his contract with the Knicks expires?
"50-50 chance," says Mark Heisler of The Orange County Register on whether Jackson will decide to go back to the Lakers. And for the same reason, "Phil's opt-out on July 1, 2017" adding that inside say Jackson "could still wind up with the Lakers."
"He's also still learning as an executive, as a president of an organization, which is completely different than coaching," says former Knicks coach Derek Fisher as reported by the New York Post back in April. So, if decides to go back to Los Angeles, will he fill Jim's shoes, or will he replace the youthful Luke Walton?
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