Top Stories

Phil Jackson Rumors

“My dad lived a very loud, open-book life. And didn’t apologize for it. It’s a family business. So people can relate, the family aspect of it,” Jeanie Buss says. “We’re a family that’s known in the media. It’s a lot.” Buss says there aren’t many surprises in the documentary that hardcore fans don’t already know. “Everyone knows the wins and losses. Everyone knows the trades and free agent signings. I think people were interested in understanding the conflict I had with my brother. There is nothing to be hidden or kept secret. I think people didn’t understand the relationship that I have with Linda Rambis (a longtime friend and adviser), or obviously my very high-profile relationship with (former head coach) Phil Jackson.”
Jeanie Buss: When I lean on Magic Johnson (who abruptly resigned as president of basketball operations in April 2019), when I lean on Phil Jackson (the former Lakers coach and former fiancé of Jeanie’s), that’s advice that I’m getting for me in my decision-making process. It’s not that Magic is making a decision on who we’re going to hire as coach. It’s not that Phil is telling me who to hire as coach. It’s talking about process, talking about experience, what happened when you approached a problem like this. These are just people (she trusts). Everybody has them, those people in your life that you trust, you believe in (and) that you know are going to give you a straight answer, (and) that there is no separate agenda when they’re talking to you.
Udoka’s 10-day stint with the Lakers — and Phil Jackson, whom Kerr also played for — might not have informed much of who he is as a coach today, but it does speak to his work ethic. He’s someone willing to fight for a job in the league from its most meager starting point. “Talking about where he started, 10-day contracts and things like that, he’s obviously had to work his way to get here,” Celtics star Jayson Tatum said. “And he carries that sense of toughness with him and does instill that into the group every day. Proud of him.
Most of the front office, it seems, has zeroed in on Darvin Ham, with former head coaches Terry Stotts (Portland) and Kenny Atkinson (Brooklyn) also in the mix. Ham was briefly an assistant with the Lakers, and according to league sources, he is the favorite of the Phil Jackson-Kurt Rambis layer of Lakers decision-makers. “I think those guys want a young coach they can mold a little bit,” one Western Conference executive told Heavy.com. “I do not think Darvin is a pushover by any means. I just think that they want a guy they can point in the direction they want to go, more traditional basketball, using Russell Westbrook a certain way.”
The dynamic between Jeanie Buss and Jerry West has been shaky at least since back when Phil Jackson started dating Jeanie, all the while presiding over the team as coach. West believed the situation to be unprofessional, and beyond that, distrusted Jackson as a cynical actor. According to sources, the West perspective was a protective one: He believed that Phil was using Jeanie, whom he’d known since she was a teenager, for his own power play. Whatever his intent, West’s judgments were not taken well, and have likely informed a separation that only grows more distant with time.
To that end, it’s worth revisiting my report from earlier this month about Jackson’s affinity for Westbrook. When the decision was made to fire Vogel, there was a belief from on high that Westbrook wasn’t put in a position to succeed. For Jackson’s part, sources say he has cited the Gary Payton dilemma in the 2003-04 Lakers season as a way of illustrating a coach’s need to make the best of roster decisions that weren’t his preference. In essence, deal with the hand you’re dealt rather than complain about it.