Phil Jackson Will Influence Dwight Howard's Decision to Stay with Los Angeles Lakers

By Eric N. Ellington
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Howard won’t be re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers unless Phil Jackson becomes head coach.

That’s the bottom line.

Reports have surfaced about Jackson’s role with the team, possibly as a consultant. While Jeanie Buss, Executive Vice president of Basketball Operations would love to have her fiance managing the L.A. club, her brother and majority owner, Jim Buss, isn’t willing to relinquish the reins to Jackson.

Unless Jackson is involved in the X’s and O’s, distributing playing time and offensive strategy, Howard will likely not benefit from his presence. I’m sure Howard knows this. I’m also not convinced if Jackson’s a bona-fide general manager or NBA executive, so I would prefer to see him coaching on the sidelines. Unfortunately, Jackson has indicated he has no plans on becoming a head coach for any team.

Honestly, I don’t really think this “Phil Jackson” issue is at the top of the list of problems the current Lakers are having. They are currently too old — Kobe Bryant (34), Steve Nash (39), and Pau Gasol (32). They also don’t have enough cap space to even acquire a major talent until the summer of 2014. Mike D’Antoni is obviously not a good fit for Howard’s style of play, and new draft pick Ryan Kelly seems to be the likely replacement for the 6-foot-11 center if he decides to move on.

When Jim Buss ultimately decided to go with D’Antoni, the Lakers didn’t have a chance. As the New York Knicks head coach, D’Antoni compiled a 121-167 record with three losing seasons. In his first season with the Lakers, he managed to sneak into the playoffs (after being under .500 for most of the season) only to be swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

What has he done lately?


Eric N. Ellington covers the Los Angeles Lakers for Rant Sports. Follow him at @EricNEllington

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