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As the Lakers coaching drama continues to devolve into a he said, she said, we have fresh details of how the Phil Jackson deal fell apart from Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register.According to Ding, Jackson met with Lakers brass on Saturday at his home, and was under the impression that he had two days to mull over the decision.
When Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak called him at midnight on Sunday, Jackson still thought that it was his job to turn down.
But it wasn’t. Kupchak told a stunned Jackson that they hired Mike D’Antoni because they felt he was the best fit for the Lakers. In perfect Phil Jackson fashion, the 11-time NBA title winner replied with a understated zinger, “I don’t. But OK.”
At this point, we really have no idea what happened between Jackson and the Lakers.
Initial reports said that the Lakers were scared off by Jackson’s laundry list of unprecedented demands. But Jackson’s agent denied those claims to the LA Times, and even implied that D’Antoni’s people may have floated those rumours in the press.
There’s also the personal rivalry between Jackson and Laker exec Jim Buss. Ding even mentions the conspiracy theory that Buss wanted to “pull the rug out from under” Jackson in an elaborate scheme for vengeance.
We imagine that more of these anecdotes and details will trickle out eventually. But right now we just have a single mystery — why did the Lakers not hire Phil Jackson? — with a lot of conflicting explanations.
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