They agreed to meet at 11:00 AM that Saturday. Half an hour later, Jim called back to ask, "Do you mind if Mitch comes with me?"
"Of course not," replied Phil, who had a good working relationship with Mitch.
Still, Mitch's presence changed the dynamics of the meeting because Phil would be there alone, without his agent. The get-together was supposed to be a conversation, not a negotiation.
I vacated the property, taking my dog for a ride so my brother, Mitch, and Phil could have their time together.
At 12:30, Phil called to say Jim and Mitch had just left.
"How'd it go?" I asked upon arriving home.
"We had a great meeting," said Phil. "We went over each player and the issues I see with the team."
Phil told my brother and Mitch that he would want to have input on personnel decisions if and when there were roster changes. The last time he came back to the Lakers, he had input at the beginning, but during the last season or two he was there, Phil was kept out of the decision-making process.
There was no discussion of money at the meeting or any of the supposed demands by Phil that were later erroneously reported in the media.
Looking back, I wonder where the media was getting its information. Someone was talking.
As Jim and Mitch were preparing to leave, Phil got in the last word, telling them, "I'm going to consider this but I have to check with some people," meaning he had to get cleared by his doctors and talk to his family.
This could be a life-changing decision. He wasn't going to just say, "Okay, where's the contract?" He was retired and they had just dropped a bombshell on him. He needed a little time to think it over. So they agreed to talk again on Monday morning.
Jim and Mitch made it very clear they were still going to talk to other people. During that weekend, they spoke to both Mike D'Antoni and Mike Dunleavy.
Phil understood that. He wasn't pleading for the job, and they weren't negotiating yet. . . .
[The possibility of Jackson's return excited Lakers fans, who chanted "We want Phil" during the Lakers-Kings game that weekend at Staples Center.]
I asked him that Sunday, "Who is the better coach for this team, you or D'Antoni?"
My brother didn't text me that Sunday to ask me what Phil was thinking. My brother was respecting our boundaries as well. I felt we were on the same wavelength. . . .
That Sunday night, just before he started preparing dinner, Phil put on his Lakers Hawaiian shirt, the one he had often worn during the season. It was clear to me he was getting mentally ready to return to his old job.
Nothing was for sure, but things were moving in that direction.