SH Blog: Phil Jackson predicts Heat in 6, Sterling admits letting go of Del Negro was to keep his players happy


Phil JacksonPhil Jackson has been all over the news over the past week. It all started when the details of his new book was revealed about how he compared Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. More importantly, people still want to know whether there is any chance of seeing the Zen Master back on the sidelines for any team. The answer to that question, unfortunately, appears to be a resounding no for the foreseeable future. Here is what he told Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:

“I don’t see myself coaching again, I really don’t,” Jackson said. “When I discussed this with Jeanie Buss, she said, ‘Make sure you tell them that Jeanie still thinks you can coach even though you might say you’re not going to coach again.’ Jeanie still thinks I can coach, but I’m not going to go there.”

“The health issue is part of it,” Jackson said. “It’s an issue of getting back on the road and getting in at three in the morning and back-to-backs and playing four games in five nights at some point in the middle of the wintertime and not being there physically with the energy that you have to have to drive a team.”

Jackson explained why he believes the Lakers decided to pass on signing him earlier in the season, from Markazi:

Jackson said he thinks the Lakers made the decision largely based on catering to Steve Nash, their 39-year-old point guard who was limited to 50 games this season as he battled a variety of injuries.

“I think it didn’t happen because there was some concern, How are we going to move in the right direction for this ballclub?” Jackson said. “When Mitch gave me the call close to midnight on Sunday night right before I was going to give them an answer Monday morning and said, ‘We’ve made a choice. We’re going to hire Mike D’Antoni. We think he’s the best coach for this group of guys,’ My answer was, ‘For Steve Nash, yes, I agree, but for Dwight Howard, I’m not so sure.’

“In the process of thinking about how they could best use the team I think they thought first and foremost about Steve Nash and how Steve Nash was going to fit inside of an offensive system that I coach. … I think that was a concern for them.”

Jackson also doesn’t think Dwight Howard has reason to come back to the Los Angeles Lakers and blamed management for the mistake of hiring a coach who is unfit to coach someone with Howard’s skill sets, from Eric Pincus of Los Angeles Times:

On Tuesday, Phil Jackson suggested Dwight Howard might not have sufficient reason to return to the Lakers this summer as a free agent.

“Would you?  If you felt like your game wasn’t going to be featured?” asked Jackson on the Dan Patrick Show.

Jackson intimated that Coach Mike D’Antoni wasn’t using Howard properly in the Lakers’ offense.

“You have to play in to Dwight Howard.  You have to get back and reestablish him as the center that he potentially was going to be,” said Jackson. “This year … he had four or five less touches in the post. Most of the things he got in there were on the move.”

Instead of pointing the finger at D’Antoni, Jackson put the blame on the team’s primary decision makers.

“It’s not Mike’s style. I don’t blame Mike for that,” said Jackson. “That’s the ownership or management made that decision. That was the decision that they have to live with.”

One more note about Jackson: I had the opportunity to speak with him very briefly and asked him for a prediction on the Heat-Pacers series. Here is what he had to say:

Saw Phil Jackson today. Asked who he likes between Pacers and Heat. Said he wants Pacers to win, but predict the Heat to win in 6.

Onto other news from around the league:

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  1. jerry25 says:

    Very important stuff in this Blog.

    Most significant may be that Phil Jackson is basically giving Dwight Howard his blessing to leave the Lakers (for Houston?). Not something Phil’s fiancee would be happy about, but Dwight should feel good. Dwight will be happier in Houston anyway.

    Also, as someone who doesn’t like the Knicks (besides not liking the Lakers), I hope Melo doesn’t find out about Acupuncture treatment, to get his shoulder to heal quicker, and avoid surgery. Dwight Howard was using acupuncture and electric acupuncture on his injuries, and he posted a photo a few months back. Looks like Howard was feeling better at end of season, and never required surgery for his torn labrum.

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