LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Lakers organization and Phil Jackson have been in “serious discussions,” CBS2/KCAL9 Sports Director Jim Hill confirmed Saturday.
The talks commenced a day after the team’s coach Mike Brown was let go following the team’s early 1-4 start to the NBA season and several issues plaguing the team on and off the court.
“This was a difficult and painful decision to make,” said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak in a statement on Friday. “Mike was very hard-working and dedicated, but we felt it was in the best interest of the team to make a change at this time. We appreciate Mike’s efforts and contributions and wish him and his family the best of luck.”
Hill has also learned that Jackson met with Team Vice President Jim Buss to explore the possibility of returning to the team. A final agreement has not yet been reached nor announced.
Jackson is said to be in good health physically, but having hip and knee replacement surgeries, traveling could be a concern to 67-year-old.
Jackson left the Lakers after losing to the Dallas Mavericks in a four-game sweep in the 2011 Western Conference Semi-finals.
Saturday evening, CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Bobby Kaple spoke to two high-profile Lakers fans in Magic Johnson (Dodgers co-owner and former Lakers standout) and Mayor Villaraigosa, both big Jackson fans.
Said Johnson, “This town loves Phil. And they love the Lakers and it would be a great marriage once again. He’s the one person that could turn this thing around. He knows the team. He’s coached the team twice. He’s led them to championships. He knows Kobe, Gasol, Metta World Peace…they all know him very well. They’ll be comfortable with Phil.”
Villaraigosa echoed that sentiment. “To get Phil Jackson back right now would be great. The Lakers have world-class talent. They are on a march to a championship. And they need a coach who’s been there before.”
» Lakers Have Door Wide Open For Phil Jackson