Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and Executive VP Jim Buss met with Phil Jackson on Saturday, and agreed to talk again in a couple of days.
The topic of conversation, of course, was the head coaching vacancy created by the firing of Mike Brown on Friday morning. Among those in favor of a third tour of duty for Jackson in Los Angeles is Kobe Bryant.
“You guys know how I feel about Phil,” said Bryant after Friday’s win over Golden State. “One thing that’s always bothered me is that his last year I wasn’t able to give him my normal self. I was playing on one leg and that’s always eaten away at me. The last year of his career, I wasn’t able to give him everything I had.
“For me, I took it to heart because I couldn’t give him everything I had because I physically couldn’t – my knee was shot. That’s always bothered me.”
Bryant is referencing the 4-0 sweep at the hands of Dallas in the 2011 Western Semi’s, when his knee was a big problem, and the team appeared mentally spent after three consecutive trips to the Finals. Bryant said Jackson’s greatness made it difficult on whoever was going to follow him.
“A lot of it is Phil’s fault,” Bryant offered. “He teaches guys to be thinkers. This is how he teaches. He teaches us the little nuances, the details and the intricacies of the game that just a lot of people don’t know. It’s no fault of their own. When it comes to basketball, he’s genius level. It’s tough for anybody to step in those shoes afterward from players that were raised underneath that tutelage.”
While Kupchak, Jim Buss and Dr. Jerry Buss determine the future of the coaching position, Bernie Bickerstaff will continue as interim head coach.
Bickerstaff gave the players the day off on Saturday in advance of Sunday’s home game against Sacramento.