Could Phil Jackson be returning in the next few days to coach the Los Angeles Lakers? Even though the Lakers plan on contacting Jackson this weekend to gauge his interest, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin is reporting that multiple sources have confirmed the 67-year-old is open to the possibility of return to the Lake Show sideline. Last night, following the Lakers' 101-77 blowout win over the Golden State Warriors, Kobe Bryant was asked about The Zen Master's potential comeback and he gave a very honest, heartfelt response.
"You guys know how I feel about Phil," Bryant said. "The one thing that's kind of always bothered me is that his last year (in 2011) I wasn't able to give him my normal self, you know what I mean? Because I was playing on one leg. That's always eaten away at me. The last year of his career I wasn't able to give him everything I had."
"He's too great of a coach to go out that way," Bryant said. "That's my personal sentiment. For me, it was just … I took it to heart because I couldn't give it everything that I had, because my knee was shot. That's always kind of bothered me."
In case you forgot, Jackson's last time as coach of the Lakers resulted in the team getting swept by the eventual NBA champion Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals. Even with Kobe's stamp of approval, the Lakers are exploring other coaching options, including Mike D'Antoni. The Lakers will need to make their decision quickly because interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff has committed to only a few games.