Prior to L.A.’s Friday evening road game in Oklahoma City, Phil Jackson addressed reporter’s questions about a possible return to coach the Lakers next season.
Here’s a transcript from the pregame media session:
Q: On his he’s made a decision about next season, or if he’s leaning one way or the other:
Jackson: No. There’s no decision. No leaning at all. I’m leaning against the wall.
Q: On if the odds have gone up since he’s feeling better health wise:
Jackson: Well, health wise it’s fine. Odds wise, I serve at the behest of the Buss family. Jeanie I serve all the time … but (right now) I’m serving this basketball club as a coach.
Q: On revisiting the issue after the season:
Jackson: I think it’s the best way to approach it right now. Where this team is, the way it’s built, the way we’ve been going along this season, the direction the NBA is going right now. A lot of these things fit together.
Q: On how winning this year could affect his decision:
Jackson: If we win it’s almost imperative that (I) give it another shot, but that’s a lot of ‘if’s’ in there. Winning is a really big (challenge). There are four playoff (series) that you have to get through before you can say that ‘We won’ and then have a chance to do something special again, unique. So, that’s a long shot.
Q: On why winning has a lot to do with it:
Jackson: Yeah, I think how we make it through the year has a lot to do with it. Dr. Buss put some things on the line by resigning Lamar (Odom). Some of it is financial … the team has never lost money since he took over, so yeah it’s a big part of it. I pushed him to sign Lamar, and we all said (that) we have to have this guy back. We put this team in jeopardy as far as financially, but at a time when it’s tough in this league (Dr. Buss) took the step.
Q: On if health or finances were an issue for him:
Jackson: Neither one.
Q: On if he’d take a pay cut:
Jackson: A pay cut can come in all different forms … there are some ways around that. I think we can find a way to make that work.
Q: On his health being improved over last year:
Jackson: Yeah, I’ll do a whole physical checkup at the end of the year and I’ll make a decision. It’s pretty easy. It’ll go pretty quick. Two day thing and I’ll be back, see what happens.