Let’s take a last look at the Phil Jackson-Los Angeles Lakers fiasco.
It seems apparent that there are three culprits who prevented Jackson from replacing Mike Brown.
Jimmy Buss has no official title, but his dad (Dr. Jerry Buss) has placed the fortunes of the franchise entirely in his eldest son’s hands. Too bad Jimmy can’t tell a pick-and-roll from a Kaiser roll. He’s strictly a numbers man, and hired the woefully inept Brown only because of Brown’s impressive winning percentage in Cleveland.
Never mind that Brown was useless in timeouts, made ineffective in-game and between-game adjustments, conducted overly long practices, was ridiculed by his players, let LeBron James walk all over him in their Cleveland days and was considered a joke by his peers. Hey, but his numbers were good!
There were several reasons why Buss was more than reluctant to rehire Jackson, one of these being the intense rivalry among his siblings. With Jackson in the command seat, Jeanie Buss knew more about the inner workings of the team than did Jimmy – an intolerable situation for big bro.
Also, Jimmy subscribed to Jerry Krause’s theory that championships are won by organizations, including front offices. So when Phil left, all of his assistants and scouts were fired. According to Jimmy, “The average NBA fan knows as much as any NBA scout” – a belief that enabled him to hire his favorite bartender buddy as a scout.
Mitch Kupchak is GM of the Lakers, a position that usually includes responsibility for making any and all player-personnel decisions. But because of Jackson’s phenomenal successes, every free agent signing, every potential trade, and every D-league demotion required his coach’s approval.
No surprise that Kupchak resented the diminishing of his authority and also wanted Jackson out.
Warren Legarie is the agent for both Brown and Mike D’Antoni. He undoubtedly convinced Buss and Kupchak that in canning Brown, the Lakers owed him one. Could Legarie also have been instrumental in drawing up the list of negatives associated with Jackson?
So, if they really didn’t want to hire him, why then did Kupchak and Buss meet with Jackson? Only because the local media and Lakers fans raised such a tumult.