We learned yesterday that Phil Jackson was “stunned” (like the rest of us) when he found out the Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni as head coach over him.
Check out what he had to say regarding what happened:
Phil Jackson paints a different picture of negotiations than the Lakers, one in which the Lakers manipulated the press and reneged on a handshake agreement that they would give Jackson until Monday to decide whether or not to move forward in negotiations. From Mike Bresnahan for the Los Angeles Times:
“Saturday morning, [Lakers executive] Jim Buss called to ask if he could come and visit. I didn’t solicit or ask for the opportunity but I welcomed both him and [team executive] Mitch Kupchak into my home to discuss the possibility of my return to the Lakers as head coach,” Jackson said.
“We talked for over an hour and a half. No contractual terms were discussed and we concluded with a handshake 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 Sunday by a phone call from Mitch Kupchak. He told me that the Lakers had signed Mike D’Antoni to a three-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 encouraged my return and it is the principal reason why I considered the possibility.” [...]
Jackson’s agent, Todd Musburger, added that media coverage portraying Jackson as being full of demands was inaccurate.
Musburger also spoke to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, making several comments about how Jackson deserves better treatment given all that he’s done over the years for the Lakers organization. But this particular media outreach is only part of the story. According to Howard Beck of The New York Times, sources inside and outside of Lakers headquarters claim that Jackson never made specific demands and that he ultimately wanted the job. Elsewhere, Kurt Rambis, a longtime Jackson assistant who would have joined him on the Lakers bench, told Sam Amick of USA Today thatmoney was never discussed. And, two whole days ago, Ric Bucher of CSNBayArea.com reported that the idea that the Lakers’ job was Jackson’s to take was false, because negotiations hadn’t reached that point.
So, in other words, we are effectively in the middle of a prolonged “he said, she said” situation, with Jackson, the Lakers, and various representatives engaging in campaigns to swing opinions to their side.
-FULL STORY HERE