NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Phil Jackson has apparently been giving coaching tips to the Lakers’ Luke Walton.
The first-year head coach told reporters Sunday he’s been picking the brain of his former coach, who is also the Knicks’ president.
“I’ve definitely reached out to him about different things,” Walton said, according to the New York Post.
What sort of things?
“On how to coach,” Walton explained. “When I call him now, instead of random check-ins, it’s about specific things. I try to get his opinion on how he thinks I should handle something, on getting better at certain things, just picking his brain. So far he’s batting 100 percent.”
Walton said he’s received advice from Jackson as recently as three weeks ago.
It’s not unheard of for sports figures to seek tips from others they respect — and Jackson’s 11 world championships obviously afford him a lot of respect. But it does raise more questions about whether Jackson could be plotting a move to the Lakers’ front office, where his fiancee, Jeanie Buss, is the team president.
Jackson and Buss, however, have denied on numerous occasions that the “Zen Master” is entertaining the idea of opting out of his Knicks contract next season.
Jackson reached out to Walton in April when he was looking for a head coach. At the time, Walton was an assistant coach for the Warriors, who were in the first round of the playoffs, and declined to pursue the Knicks job.
“Obviously you consider any job,’’ Walton said. “The Knicks are one of the big-time franchises in this league. Where I was at the time, still being in the playoffs with the Warriors, there was never any detailed: ‘Let’s have a conversation and talk about it.’ Obviously as a 36-year-old coach, if anyone shows interest, you entertain it.”