News Column

LA Fans Want Phil Jackson

Nov. 13, 2012

Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports


If Mychal Thompson and every other Los Angeles Lakers fan has his way, Phil Jackson will be sitting courtside in his trademark high chair by the time the San Antonio Spurs comes to the Staples Center on Tuesday night.

"The orchestra is set, everybody has their instruments, the audience is in their seats and they're just waiting for the conductor to show up," said Thompson, a former Lakers forward and current radio broadcaster. "Yeah, the fans are really clamoring for it. Phil has all the electoral votes from the fans, so it should be a landslide. It would be like (Walter) Mondale unseating (Ronald) Reagan (in the 1984 election) if Phil is not the coach."

In truth, it's just a matter of whether Jackson wants to run again. While his return isn't official, all signs continue to point to the 11-time championship-winning coach rejoining the team that he led to five titles before retiring after the 2010-11 season. After the Lakers' 1-4 start this season led to the Friday firing of coach Mike Brown that was first reported by USA TODAY Sports, Jackson met with team officials Saturday and the sides agreed to talk in the coming days. Meanwhile, the Lakers went to work on their backup plan just in case Jackson declines.

A person familiar with the coaching search said the Lakers discussed the vacancy with former New York and Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni and former Lakers coach Mike Dunleavy over the weekend. This person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because negotiations are ongoing. As for Jackson, his health and ability to handle the rigors of NBA travel are major factors in his decision-making process.

"It will get done, barring something very significant," Lakers legend Magic Johnson -- who had been vocal about his stance that Brown was not the right hire when the coach signed a four-year, $18 million deal in May 2011 -- told USA TODAY Sports, "I feel it's going to get done."

(c) Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2012

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