Phil Jackson could soon be back with the Los Angeles Lakers.
After the firing of Mike Brown, sources say that the team is interested in returning to the familiar face. The Lakers are reportedly interested in bringing back Phil Jackson, source with knowledge of the situation told ESPN Los Angeles. Another potential coaching candidate is Mike D’Antoni, former New York Knicks head coach.
“It’s neck and neck,” the source said.
The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly want to move quickly to fill the vacancy left when Mike Brown was fired on Friday. The team has stumbled to a 1-4 start despite a busy offseason where they added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, who has missed time with an injury. Bernie Bickerstaff is serving as interim head coach but has reportedly committed to only a few games with the team.
The Lakers are expected to reach out to Phil Jackson and Mike D’Antoni this weekend along with other candidates.
“It’s not going to be a long process; that’s for d**n sure,” a source told ESPN Los Angeles. “But they’re going to do their due diligence.”
Phil Jackson would be a good fit for the Lakers as he has been in the past. Not only is he the winningest coach in NBA championship history with 11 titles, but he has a reputation for taking teams with many strong personalities and helping them to gel. A reported rift between Jackson and team owner Jim Buss is also not an issue, a source told ESPN Los Angeles.
In the end, living in the shadow of Phil Jackson actually proved too much for Mike Brown, Washington Post writer Michael Lee noted:
“This season is meant to return one of the NBA’s most storied franchises, and Bryant, back to championship glory. Patience was eliminated from the discussion for a team with a combined three most valuable player awards and 35 all-star appearances. When the Lakers sputtered and looked discombobulated against every team except the lowly Detroit Pistons, Brown abruptly became the scapegoat, as coaches not named Phil Jackson and Pat Riley often do in Los Angeles.”
Some insiders believe that Phil Jackson is already gearing up to take the Los Angeles Lakers job. He still lives in LA where he can connect with his former assistant coaches easily and reportedly backed out of a speaking engagement in Chicago next week, canceling minutes before the Lakers announced Brown’s firing.