Earlier this summer, Lakers fans were excited to hear that Phil Jackson was working with the team as a consultant, with possibilities for other roles later on. Jeanie Buss, Jackson’s fiance and part owner of the Lakers, and brother Jim Buss have differing opinions on Jackson, evidenced by the debacle of his hiring/not hiring at the beginning of the season this year. However, it seems that both the Buss siblings have found a mutual ground with Jackson.
Rich Bucher recently covered the Buss family for The Hollywood Reporter. He broke down their current situation, talked about Kobe Bryant, and briefly mentioned Jackson. However, Bucher revealed late Thursday night via his Twitter some interesting quotes about Jackson’s future with the Lakers organization.
“Right now he has no official position,” Jeanie said of Phil’s role with the team. “He wants to be supportive of me and the organization. He has no contractual obligation. He would listen to anything where he might be able to help. If we asked him to fill in on the broadcast because someone was out, I’m sure he’d do it. Just because everyone puts him as a coach doesn’t mean that’s the only thing he’s capable of doing.” Jim Buss welcomes Phil’s involvement – to a degree. “We can call him at any time,” Jim said. “(GM) Mitch (Kupchak) has sat down with him several times, especially with the Dwight situation. I’d be more than happy to have him on a consultant basis. I don’t think we’re paying him and I don’t know if he has an official title. I have no idea if Jeanie wants to sit down and discuss that. But I have no issues with him coming back or having a role.”
That’s a very eye-opening, but encouraging sign for Lakers faithful. Jim Buss has never quite seen eye-to-eye with Jackson, infamously cleaning house of Jackson’s old staff when the Zen Master retired. However, contrary to all those rumors, Jim Buss seems willing to have Jackson back in the fold with the Lakers in some capacity.
With the summer of 2014 around the corner, a summer that will define the Lakers franchise for the years to follow, having someone like Jackson involved with the team would be ideal. Jackson clearly has sway with the current generation of stars, seen most recently with Howard’s insistence that the Lakers replace head coach Mike D’Antoni with Jackson. While D’Antoni may not be thrilled to have Jackson looming over his shoulder, it’d be best for the Lakers franchise moving forward.