Zen Master OUT as Lakers head coach!

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Zen Master OUT as Lakers head coach!

Postby Jake » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:04 pm

Agent: Jackson Leaving As Lakers Coach

By JOHN NADEL
The Associated Press
Friday, June 18, 2004; 9:54 PM

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - The Zen Master's coaching career with the Los Angeles Lakers is over. Phil Jackson, one of the most successful coaches in NBA history, won't return as coach of the Lakers next season, his agent Todd Musberger told The Associated Press on Friday. Musberger said a joint statement would be released later.

The move was expected even before Jackson met with Lakers owner Jerry Buss following the coach's participation in season-ending exit interviews with several players earlier in the day.

Jackson's five-year, $30 million contract expires at the end of the month. He was discussing a contract extension, but the Lakers broke off talks in February until after the season.

As it turned out, there were no such talks.

Also, the Lakers announced Friday that Kobe Bryant, as expected, opted out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.

Jackson joined the Lakers in June 1999, and coached them to their first championship in 12 years in his first season. Two more titles followed, giving Jackson nine to tie him with former Boston coach Red Auerbach for the most in NBA history.

The Lakers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by eventual champion San Antonio last year and reached the NBA Finals this year before losing to the Detroit Pistons.

In 14 seasons as a head coach, Jackson is 832-316 for a .725 winning percentage - best in NBA history. His 175 playoff wins are the most ever and his .717 postseason winning percentage is also tops.

Jackson, 58, coached the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls to championships in 1992-94 and 1996-98. Jackson then took a year off before becoming coach of the Lakers. His teams in Chicago and Los Angeles had a 9-0 record in the NBA Finals before this year.

There could be several more changes to follow.

Karl Malone has already opted out of his contract, although he hopes to play for the Lakers if healthy. Gary Payton and Derek Fisher could follow Bryant and Malone and opt out of their deals.

General manager Mitch Kupchak made clear the team's priorities Thursday when he said the Lakers would do anything they need to keep Bryant and would try to accommodate O'Neal if he demands a trade.

Apparently upset over Kupchak's remarks, O'Neal's canceled his exit interview. O'Neal is under contract for two more years but could opt out after next season.

Jackson seemed in good spirits as he left the Lakers' practice facility for the last time as the team's coach - before his meeting with Buss.

Asked if he was looking forward to meeting with his boss, Jackson smiled and replied: "Oh, yeah."

Buss' daughter, Jeanie, Jackson's longtime girlfriend and the Lakers' executive vice president of business operations, said earlier this month she believed there was a 95 percent chance Jackson would return as coach.

She proved to be wrong.

Jackson and Kupchak participated in exit interviews with Bryant, Derek Fisher, Gary Payton, Slava Medvedenko and Jamal Sampson on Friday. Jackson's agent traveled west from Chicago and was with Jackson when he left the training facility.

Jackson said following the Lakers' 100-87 loss to the Pistons on Tuesday night that there was "a pretty slim chance" he would coach the team next season.

He proved to be correct.

© 2004 The Associated Press


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Postby 1niksder » Fri Jun 18, 2004 9:34 pm

Phil is leaving ... Kobe is opting out AND Shaq wants to be traded ..... I still wont like the Lakers :wink:
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Postby Jake » Fri Jun 18, 2004 10:14 pm

Henry Bibby and Rudy T. were contacted for the head coaching vacancy AND Karl Malone is officially a free agent. Everything's falling apart in LaLa land. GM Mitch Kupchak said that he will not get rid of Shaq.

I guess they'll rely on their young guys and maybe some free agents. Rush, Walton, Medvedenko, are their future.

I'm guessing they'll hire Pat Riley.

Texas Hog... enough basketball for ya? :wink:
RIP Sean Taylor 1983-2007
RIP Kevin Mitchell 1971-2007
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RIP Sammy Baugh 1914-2008

RIP JPFair
RIP VetSkinsFan

#60 Chris Samuels: 6-time 6-time 6-time 6-time 6-time 6-time Pro Bowl left tackle!

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Postby Texas Hog » Sat Jun 19, 2004 2:03 pm

Thanks for the update Jake

I'm lovin the falling apart in Lala land...and loved seeing Phil finally lose one.

I want to see O'Neal in SA next season...SA's got the coin, Shaq's from SA, but I'm not sure LA would let him go to a conference rival.
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Postby Kentucky Fried Hog » Sat Jun 19, 2004 4:36 pm

Too bad Byron Scott has already taken the New Orleans HC job. I would've like to have seem him back with the Lake Show.

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