PHOENIX — Lakers coach Phil Jackson did his best to set the record straight tonight, contradicting two ESPN reports about his future. No, he has not been contacted through back channels or any other channels about his interest in coaching either the Chicago Bulls or the New Jersey Nets when his Lakers contract runs out at season’s end. No, he has not made up his mind about coaching next season with the Lakers or any other team. No, nothing has changed since he said earlier this month it was 90 percent that he would either coach the Lakers next season or head home to retire.
Here’s more of what he said before Game 4:
“Those channels have not reached me. I have no awareness of that at all. … I’ll leave it open and just say that as of now I have not made up my mind about coaching or not coaching next year. That’s all I can say, really and truthfully. I’m not entertaining any conversations about that right now. I just can’t imagine it (coaching elsewhere). Not to say it’s beyond your wildest dreams that it would never happen. The strangest things do. It’s just not part of my conscious thought right now. We’re on this path (in the 2010 playoffs). Let’s go down that path. No, they’re not a distraction to me. Not to the players even. I have no desire, none at all, to go back to Chicago and coach the Bulls.”