Lakers look at luring Jackson back as coach
LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Lakers are apparently seeking to make their fans' fondest wishes come true and talking to Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson about their vacant coaching job.
An article posted on the NBA team's website was one of many reports Saturday saying Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president Jim Buss had met with Jackson and had agreed to talk again in coming days.
The underachieving Lakers sacked coach Mike Brown on Friday, with assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff stepping in as interim coach.
The team's 101-77 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night was still in the third quarter when fans launched into "We Want Phil" chants.
"Who is Phil?" quipped Bickerstaff of the former Lakers coach who guided Chicago to six NBA titles and the Lakers to five NBA crowns before retiring in 2011.
Kupchak had indicated Friday that the Lakers' search for a coach would include checking in with Jackson.
"When there's a coach like Phil Jackson, one of the all-time greats, and he's not coaching, we would be negligent not to know he's out there," Kupchak said.
By Saturday, Jackson was reported to be the front-runner for the job of melding Lakers stalwart Kobe Bryant and high profile new arrivals Steve Nash and Dwight Howard into a championship team.
"It's Phil's job to turn down," an unnamed source told ESPNLosAngeles.com.
The Los Angeles Times also reported that the job is Jackson's if he wants it.
However, the newspaper said that until Jackson renders a decision on whether to un-retire and the two sides make a deal the team will continue the search process. Former NBA coaches Mike D'Antoni, Nate McMillan and Mike Dunleavy are among the potential candidates, the Times reported.
Jackson, a Hall-of-Famer since 2007, retired in May of 2011 after the Dallas Mavericks swept Los Angeles from the playoffs to end a Lakers season that Jackson had said would be his last.
He departed with a record 11 titles as a coach and only 10 post-season series defeats.
He won six championships with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, three with Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal leading the Lakers, and two with a Lakers team led by Bryant.
He had held on for the 2010-11 season to chase a three-peat, although he'd indicated he was disenchanted with the grind of the NBA season.
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