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What made the Los Angeles Lakers contact Phil Jackson last November? Many people were fairly surprised that they reached out to him, especially seeing as they broke up with him the previous year and seemingly wanted to move on.
Was it a suggestion by Kobe? Pau? Maybe even Mitch?
Nope. According to Sam Smith, the suggestion came from Dwight Howard‘s camp:
It’s not that acknowledged, but the Lakers went to Jackson on the suggestion of Howard’s “people,” whomever they may be. The Lakers had distanced themselves from Jackson because they didn’t believe he wanted to coach, and probably wouldn’t have had a change of heart to try if not for Howard’s suggestion. Though there are conflicting reports of what exactly happened, it is clear patriarch Jerry Buss overruled his management and rejected Jackson’s third return.
If this is true, I find it surprising that Jerry Buss decided to go with Mike D’Antoni for the sake of attempting to bring back Showtime and in turn get the most out of your star point guard for a few years. The future is in your 27-year-old big man, not your 38-year-old point guard.
Aren’t you meant to make Howard comfortable and want to re-sign in the summer?
I don’t think the players should have a lot of organizational power, but in this occasion it probably would’ve been wise to have gone with Phil if Dwight was pushing for it. You know guys like Kobe, Pau and Metta are going to love it, too.
I know Phil probably made a lot of demands and Jerry apparently isn’t that fond of Jackson, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet for the sake of winning.
However, it makes me wonder if this is why Howard has been playing so poorly under Mike D’Antoni. Is he sulking? Did he badly want the Lakers to hire Phil?
This could get interesting in the summer, though: if the Lakers don’t live up to their potential and continue to struggle under D’Antoni, could they bring in Jackson? Los Angeles will have to do all they can to get Dwight to re-sign. Obviously, they can offer him the most money, but you want a guy to sign with you because he wants to play there, not just because of the check he’s getting.
We might be seeing why Howard is playing in such an uninspired way right now. He may not like D’Antoni and he might be praying for Phil.
H/T to Hoops Rumors