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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

Jeanie Buss Breaks Her Silence On Phil Jackson Debacle

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Jeanie Buss has finally broken her silence on the Los Angeles Lakers recent coaching drama, which involved a series of odd moves that would hit home for her.

Jeanie, the daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, serves as an executive for the Lakers. She tends to stick to the business side of Lakers management, while her brother, Jim Buss takes care of basketball operations. Or rather, Lakers general manager, Mitch Kupchak takes care of the team and Jim Buss does rich folk stuff and occasionally takes credit for Kupchak’s work.

After Jim Buss and Kupchak fired Lakers head coach Mike Brown due to a lackluster start to the season, they went straight to the Zen Master, Phil Jackson. A coach with a proven record of bringing championships to the Staples Center and the long-time partner of Jeanie, Jim’s sister.

According to numerous reports, the job belonged to Phil if he wanted it. Lakers Nation waited on Buss and Kupchak to issue an official announcement that they had hired Jackson. Instead, in a last minute change of heart, they gave the job to Mike D’Antoni. Surely embarrassing Jackson and creating an awkward atmosphere in the Buss/Jackson household.

Jackson told Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

“Saturday morning, [Lakers executive] Jim Buss called to ask if he could come and visit. I didn’t solicit or ask for the opportunity but I welcomed both him and [team executive] Mitch Kupchak into my home to discuss the possibility of my return to the Lakers as head coach,” Jackson said.

“We talked for over an hour and a half. No contractual terms were discussed and we concluded with a handshake and an understanding that I would have until Monday [today] to come back to them with my decision. I did convey to them that I did have the confidence that I could do the job. I was awakened at midnight Sunday by a phone call from Mitch Kupchak. He told me that the Lakers had signed Mike D’Antoni to a three-year agreement and that they felt he was the best coach for the team. The decision is of course theirs to make. I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Laker fans who encouraged my return and it is the principal reason why I considered the possibility.” [...]

It seems that Jeanie has decided to take Jackson’s side even if she can’t directly speak out against the Lakers decisions in public. On Monday, Buss tweeted:

https://twitter.com/JeanieBuss/status/270656354128125952