Mike Trudell, reporter for the L.A. Lakers’ official website Lakers.com, today recorded comments from Phil Jackson about his status as head coach of the Lakers.
(Phil Jackson today - Photo credit: Lakers.com)
On if he’ll return as Lakers Coach:
“I’m leaning towards retiring but I haven’t made up my mind yet.
“Some of it is about health. That’s just the way I’m feeling right now. It’s just something I’m going to sit with.
“This team is in a good place to (win again). If I’m not here, someone else is going to come in and do the job.
“It’s certainly not about money.
More from Trudell:
Phil said that his kids, now all adults, have been hoping he’d retire for the last couple of seasons.
2009-10 was a challenging year as a coach, he said, with 6-7 free agents to be, but ultimately the team spirit prevailed.
Phil Jackson said that he isn’t sure if he’s 95% certain or 50% certain that he would retire. It’s just how he feels today.
Phil has felt this way before, he said, most recently after losing to Detroit in the Finals, but changed his mind.
“fly in the ointment” for Phil to retire? The chance to 3-peat for the 4th time. Phil said that would be “ridiculous.”
Phil added that he’s going to make his final decision by the end of next week.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak told Trudell he’d be “very surprised” if Jackson didn’t return and that “he has informed Jackson more than once that he wants him to return.“
Frank Hamblen, who has served as an assistant coach on Jackson’s staff throughout the 11-time champion’s NBA coaching tenure, recently told Fox Sports Radio that he thought Jackson would return to coach the team next season.
From past experience, if someone as driven and successful as Jackson says he’s not sure about retiring, it’s almost a certainty he’ll be back - health willing.