NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Phil Jackson is not plotting a return to the Los Angeles Lakers, according to a report.
A source close to Jackson told SNY.tv that the “Zen Master” is “totally committed” to running the Knicks for the foreseeable future.
“He doesn’t have one foot out the door or anything like that,” the source said. “He bought a multimillion-dollar apartment in New York. He didn’t rent it.”
Earlier this week, the New York Daily News reported that Jackson could opt out of his five-year contract this summer. The New York Post, however, disputed that, saying the opt-out clause is actually for the 2017 offseason. The SNY source said the Post is correct.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski touched off much speculation when he wrote in a column this week that there is a “strong belief” Jackson will return to the Lakers, where he won five world titles as a coach. Jeanie Buss, his fiancee, is part-owner and president of the Lakers.
Wojnarowski did not specify who exactly believes Jackson has an escape plan in place or when he might execute it.
Jackson, 70, 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.
The Knicks are 23-32 and have lost 10 of their last 11 games.