The Lakers sent a clear message to their former coach who wanted to make a third tour of duty to LakerLand:
We want a full-time coach, not a rent-a-skipper.
Mike Brown obviously wasn’t the right fit for the Lakers. He hasn’t proven he can win a title with championship talent. Jackson has. But Phil Jackson’s problem is he doesn’t want to endure the good times and bad times with a team any longer; just the good times. So when things are bad, he’ll sneak out the back door. When things are good or promising, he’s suddenly available.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a coach, especially one who’s been around as long as Jackson, to only want to be in a situation where his team can go for a world title.
Sure, he’s had Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and some of the best talent with him. But Phil does deserve credit considering not all coaches win even when they have great talent. Brown is certainly a prime example.
But Jackson is in a frame of mind where he wants to tell the Lakers when he’s available to coach and when he’s not. He realizes the Lakers, especially with the addition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, have enough talent to win it all and maybe Jackson would have been a better fit than Mike D’Antoni, who was a flop with the New York Knicks.
But the Lakers want stability and Jackson only wanted another ring, not security.
Like your playing days, Phil, your coaching career has come to an end. Bailing out on the Lakers twice is enough. They’re smart enough to realize they didn’t want to risk a third time.