NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Is Phil Jackson plotting a return to the Los Angeles Lakers?
In a column Tuesday, Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a nugget that “There’s still a strong belief Jackson will eventually find his way to his fiancée Jeanie Buss and the Los Angeles Lakers.”
Wojnarowski did not specify who exactly believes Jackson has an escape plan in place or when he might execute it.
But the speculation comes on the heels of a New York Daily News report that Jackson’s five-year contract with the Knicks includes an opt-out clause for this summer.
Jackson, 70, coached the Lakers for 11 seasons, winning five world titles. Buss, his fiancee, is part-owner and president of the Lakers, who own the Western Conference’s worst record and could soon be in the market for a new head coach.
“The Zen Master” was hired as the Knicks’ president of basketball operations in March 2014. The team has continued to struggle since, and on Monday Jackson fired coach Derek Fisher. Jackson named Kurt Rambis, one of his former assistant coaches who is well versed in the triangle offense, as interim head coach.
Wojnarowski suggested in his column that the possibility of Jackson leaving New York could be a roadblock if the team tried to hire Warriors assistant Luke Walton, who played under Jackson and also knows the triangle because there might be a perception that Jackson isn’t committed to seeing through his rebuilding job.
Jackson told reporters Monday that he has not entertained the thought of coaching the Knicks.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Jackson, who has won 11 NBA titles overall as a head coach, posted on Twitter a note about his coaching and management philosophies.
In it, he may have indicated he’s willing to hire a coach isn’t as attached to the triangle offense as he has been.
“This is also a clue for people that inquire about who might work as a leader for this Knick team,” Jackson wrote. “Inside that style of play for that leader is the idea that there should be a system of play that includes the group. How that is done can include using the Δ system of basketball, but doesn’t exclude other systems that include group play.”