Starting over is never easy. It just seems easier if the Lakers hired Phil Jackson.
As of right now, he’s the President of the New York Knicks. It shouldn’t be surprising for him to go back to his NBA roots as a player. This is the place where he learned his philosophies, surrounded by high IQ basketball play. His coaching stints in Chicago and Los Angeles gave him the credibility to not just be a winning coach, but a person who brings on a winning culture. He gives rank to his player. He motivates them in personal ways that make the team better overall. He learned a lot playing next to Dave DeBusschere, Jerry Lucus, Walt Frazier, and Bill Bradley. That team beat the 1973 Lakers.
One can’t help but think of what kind of presence he has on the league. In a world where Jim Buss is still trying to establish himself and Jeannie is well-respected as a governor in the NBA community, it’s the big names that stand out most. Pat Riley built a championship culture in Miami. Magic Johnson was a part of the ownership team during the championship runs. Byron Scott had success with the New Jersey Nets and New Orleans Hornets as a head coach. Brian Shaw is with the Denver Nuggets. The only true remnant of the 80’s Lakers team that is visible for the current roster is Kurt Rambis, who is excellent at strategy.
Still, it’s Phil Jackson that commands the attention of the NBA superstars. Not only does he create a team environment around the superstars, but he puts them in the correct position to succeed overall. That kind of aura draws in free agents. That one thing alone can draw the eyes of elite players. One standout could have been LeBron James.
What a scary thought. Phil Jackson leading the Lakers. LeBron James taking the early termination option on his contract. LeBron is a Laker. The cap room is there.
What an idea. Just resign Gasol. Get Bryant healthy. Have LeBron lead the team.
Bryant gets his money and his 6th ring. LeBron starts continues his legacy in Los Angeles. Gasol gets one more championship run.
All Jim had to do, was give up his pride, and put the franchise in the hands of people who are proven to succeed.
After all, it’s what Dr. Buss would have wanted, right?