There is no denying that Phil Jackson is arguably the greatest head coach in the history of the National Basketball Association. Amongst his finest accomplishments are two separate three-peats with the Chicago Bulls, including a recording-breaking 72-win season. His stint as the Los Angeles Lakers head coach was almost just as impressive. Led by Kobe Bryant, the Lakers appeared in seven NBA Finals match-ups, clinching five world championships in the process. However, some might argue that Jackson's post-coaching career as an NBA executive has been just as disastrous as his coaching career was masterful.
The former 'Coach of the Year' lasted only three seasons into a five-year, $60 million dollar contract that he signed to run the New York Knicks' everyday operations as their team President. Upon leaving the Knicks in shambles back in 2017, many sports analysts suggested that it was one of the worst job performances they had ever seen from an NBA executive with full autonomy. Back then, it appeared as though Jackson would ride off into the sunset and rest on his laurels as an 11-time world champion (as a head coach).
But just when it seemed like things couldn't become any more chaotic in the Los Angeles Lakers' front office, they dusted the cobwebs off of their old head coach, brought him back into the fold, and handed him the reigns as one of their top "advisors." As if that move by the Lakers' front office wasn't questionable enough, Jackson is already making big waves by reportedly expressing his desire for the team to trade LeBron James in favor of retaining Russell Westbrook. The news was first reported by Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, and it has already sent shockwaves all throughout several news outlets.
“I’ve heard that Phil would like LeBron traded,” said Plaschke. “I’ve just heard that...I do know that Phil would like to keep (Russell) Westbrook and try to make it work with him.”
The statement from Plaschke came during a guest appearance on The Doug Gottlieb Show and it was based on his insight into the Lakers organization and his previous conversations with the team's controlling owner, Jeanie Buss. As of now, there is no official word on whether or not Buss will heed the advice of her ex-boyfriend, Phil Jackson. She already has several advisers at her disposal, most notably Rob Pelinka, Magic Johnson, and Kurt Rambis but there is no doubt about the influence that Jackson still has within the organization given his success with the team and his ties to Kobe Bryant.
To hear Bill Plaschke report on Phil Jackson's alleged desire to trade LeBron James, scroll up and skip ahead to the 10:15 mark.
Source: NY Post