ESPN: Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson said in a radio interview Tuesday that he will make a firm decision about returning to the bench next season by “early July” and that he will also explore the possibility of letting Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis coach more road games in Jackson’s place.

In the interview with ESPN Radio in Los Angeles (710 AM), Jackson insisted that health concerns would be the only reason that prevented him from completing the final season of his current coaching contract.

He also revealed that the concept of Rambis coaching the team regularly on the road — theoretically sparing Jackson, who turns 64 in September, from the rigors of travel — has already been discussed internally.

The Lakers completed a test run of the concept in April when Jackson, having had both of his hips replaced in recent years, skipped a one-game trip to Portland on the second night of back-to-back games shortly after the team had finished a grueling seven-game trip. With Rambis in charge, L.A. suffered a 106-98 loss to the Blazers.

“Yeah, we’ve toyed around with that idea actually,” Jackson told ESPN Radio hosts John Ireland and Mychal Thompson. “I guess it’s not that revolutionary. We talked a little bit about it, and you know I was actually kind of given the green light to actually try this out and when the time came.”

“I think the idea has some merit to it,” Jackson went on. “[But] I don’t want to lose control of the team. And I think that’s the one thing that you find out your team needs. I don’t mean control, like control, but like being in the trenches with them, i.e., when things get tough or something happens, you’re there with them. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this idea and it’s certainly not going to be the last. And I’m going to discuss it a little with [Lakers general manager] Mitch [Kupchak], that same idea.”

Continue reading ‘Jackson weighs coaching options’

  • willow

    I think this would be a bad idea. They may run the same offense but they’re not the same coach obviously. Some players might like the way Phil does things and some of them might like what Kurt does like his substitution patterns etc. This might create a division within the team and lack consistency. We all know that the Lakers only got consistent towards the end of the playoffs. The last thing we need now is having two different coaches that likes to do things differently.

    We still have a young team albeit they won the championship, but this would just punctuate the inconsistency of our team. Plus, it’s not fair to Kurt if they have a losing record on the road and Phil having a better record at home, just an example. Teams tend to have a better record at home than on the road. Yes we did have the best road record in the regular season but that wasn’t Kurt coaching them. Then everyone will say that Kurt if he can’t coach this team on the road, then he’s not good enough to be his heir apparent.

    In my opinion, it’s all or nothing with PJ and let the guys worry about what to do when he’s all said and done.

  • Dragon

    Phil can’t do the travel no more I think he should just retire.

  • Freshh

    Phil @ Home, Rambis @ Road?

    Terrible idea.

  • Butch

    Some Phil is better than no Phil. He’s earned the right to do it his way. I’d rather have him healthy than to leave altogether. Let the team decide.

  • Lakerfever

    I understand the reservations, and certainly the hesitation because of the outside perception, but I don’t think this is a bad idea. Everyone’s saying for Phil to either coach all of them or retire, but think about it, if he does retire, who does the Lake show turn to? With our personnel, we’d want to continue running the triangle, and thus probably have either Rambis or Shaw (presumably Rambis) take over. Are we really sure about Rambis? He does deserve a chance but I’m not sure if he should be our coach yet. He’s not going to coach all the road games, but he is going to coach potentially and its a good idea to see how the team responds to him and how he performs. If the Lakers do go through with this, the pressure and confidence is on for Rambis to preform. We won’t care about the wins (we showed in the playoffs that we can win on the road when necessary), but rather how the team responds and how our players perform under him. If its a failure then when Phil leaves after the next parade :), then we know we should look elsewhere. I understand the hesitation, but right now this is our only option. If it means retaining Phil then we have to let him do what he wants, he’s earned that right.

  • JC

    I also think this is a bad idea… Phil should tough it out for 1 or 2 more years and then pass the torch to B.SHAW! ( Sorry but Rambis doesn’t seem stable enough )