To the chagrin of the countless Lakers fans chanting his name at Staples Center, Phil Jackson won’t coach the Lakers again.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak made it clear Mike D’Antoni will return to coach next season. Even if the Lakers changed their mind, Jackson said he wouldn’t replace him anyway.
“No I think I’ve had my shot there,” Jackson said in an appearance Thursday on The Tonight Show to promote his upcoming memoir titled “Eleven Rings.” “But I have people in mind who I think can take that job. I’ve got assistant coaches who work for me who’s pretty good at that.”
It remains to be seen whether that would happen.
The Lakers, after all, passed up his assistant Brian Shaw after Jackson retired in the 2010-11 season in favor of Mike Brown. After firing him following a 1-4 start this season, the Lakers passed up Jackson, too.
The Lakers soon tailspinned out of control. They suffered overlapping injuries, namely to Steve Nash (fractured left leg), Pau Gasol (knee tendinitis) and Steve Blake (lower abdominal strain). The Lakers struggled adapting to D’Antoni’s faster-paced system. He struggled adapting to his personnel. The Lakers ended their underachieving season with a four-game first-round sweep to the San Antonio Spurs.
“Mike, with the right personnel, is a great coach,” Jackson said. “This personnel wasn’t really fit for Mike’s coaching. He likes the three-point shooting group of guys and likes 2’s and 3’s in the corner. His great guard Nash is on the team and he was obviously a great guard. He can distribute the ball. But that other big guy has to be what they call a stretch four and has to be able to shoot three-pointers. Pau didn’t quite fit into that with Pau and Howard together. They’re too big and too much of a load for that post. He doesn’t really like guys in the post. He likes guys outside.”
Meanwhile, Jackson has sparked coaching interested, most recently with the Brooklyn Nets.
“I just said I’m not interested in coaching,” Jackson said. “I’m interested in doing front office stuff.”
So much that he said he was in “serious talks” about joining a Seattle franchise if they wound up relocating from Sacramento. But the NBA’s Board of Governors voted not to allow the Sacramento Kings to move their franchise there.
“I thought Seattle is a terrific town to have a basketball team,” Jackson said. “I won’t be doing the job in Sacramento. I like Sacramento, but not that much.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org