Early Monday morning, the Los Angeles Lakers surprisingly announced the hiring of Mike D'Antoni as their next head coach. While people outside of those with knowledge of the Lakers front office may see the decision to pick D'Antoni as a slight shock, Phil Jackson was just as stunned as all of us. That is because, according to Jackson, he had established an agreement with the franchise's owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak, which gave The Zen Master until Monday to decide whether or not to take the job.
Saturday morning, Jim Buss, called to ask if he could come and visit,” Jackson said in a prepared statement released on Monday evening.
“I did not solicit or ask for the opportunity, but I welcomed both he and Mitch Kupchak into my home to discuss the possibility of my return to the Lakers as the head coach. We talked for over an hour and a half. No contractual terms were discussed and we concluded with a hand shake and an understanding that I would have until Monday (today) to come back to them with my decision.
“I did convey to them that I did have the confidence that I could do the job. I was awakened at midnight on Sunday by a phone call from Mitch Kupchak. He told me that the Lakers had signed Mike D’Antoni to a 3-year agreement and that they felt he was the best coach for the team.
“The decision is of course theirs to make.
“I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Laker Fans who endorsed my return and it is the principal reason why I considered the possibility.”
At this point, it doesn't really matter if Phil said yes or no. However, Jackson's agent, Todd Musburger, is still very fuming over the way Buss, Kupchak and the rest of the Lakers front office left Phil high and dry while also defaming The Zen Master's name.
Phil's agent, Todd Musburger tells ESPNLA: "Don't say you've got until Monday, then roust him at midnight to say, We hired somebody else.'— ramonashelburne (@ramonashelburne) November 13, 2012
Phil's agent: "He's a good faith person and he was dealt with poorly. It is indicative of the shabby way that organization is being run"— ramonashelburne (@ramonashelburne) November 13, 2012
Phil's agent: "To say that he wanted control or that he wanted a zillion dollars or that he wanted equity, those were not topics discussed"— ramonashelburne (@ramonashelburne) November 13, 2012
Phil's agent: "Phil brought nothing but trophies to their bookcase and value to the franchise. He deserved to be dealt w/ honestly"— ramonashelburne (@ramonashelburne) November 13, 2012
Have the failures of LeBron James' "The Decision" taught anybody, anything?
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[via Pro Basketball Talk]