Mitch talks about Phil

Here are some thoughts from Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak about the return of Phil Jackson to coach the team for one more season:

“We’re ecstatic to have him back. Normally he takes more time to make the decision, but I think he recognized with free agency and some of our assistant coaches up for other jobs, people needed to know what his future was, so he took some early time to get medical evaluations that might take a week or two.

“I had a dialog with him for three or four days. I felt good about it, but he never committed. So, to get a phone call Wednesday night from him, it was not completely out of the blue, but certainly it felt good to know he was coming back. For the organization, it’s a huge plus. In terms of stability and looking for a new coach, that’s something you don’t have to do. Like I said, I had dialog with him … talking about assistant coaches, giving updates on our players on prospective players, the assistant coaches with Brian Shaw with the Cleveland (job) opportunity.

“I always felt he was engaged. You can tell if someone’s really not going to come back. They’re really not engaged in future decisions for an organization. I felt he was engaged and I always felt good about where we were. Most of his decision hinged on medical evaluations, so if he got a call from a doctor, no matter how our conversations were going, he could have done a 180 pretty quick.

“I felt all along this is an opportunity that coaches love to have. This is a team that can continue to compete at a high level for several years. … I think he’s obviously comfortable with the team. He’s got a great relationship with the organization. We all work well together. His staff is intact. There won’t be any major changes to the team, so I’m not that surprised that this was his decision.

“I don’t anticipate any problems (agreeing on a contract). Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s done within a week or sooner. We’ve had some dialog with his representative today and I don’t see any problems. There always could be a problem until you get a signature, but I don’t anticipate any problems. The organization and Phil and his representative, it’s always been amicable. We’ve been able to work things out. (Whether this really is his final season) is a question for him. It sounds as if that’s what he’s decided, but I’m happy to have him back this year and maybe a year from now we’re going through the same decision-making process.”

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