Jeanie Buss unsure of Phil Jackson’s coaching plans
Jeanie Buss couldn’t help but laugh. She’s Phil Jackson’s longtime companion but says she doesn’t even know how much he wants to coach in the NBA again.
“I can’t answer that question,” said Buss, a Lakers executive vice president. “Only he can. Nobody’s called him. Unless somebody calls, we won’t know how to answer that question.”
That uncertainty also applies to the New York Knicks, who recently fired coach Mike D’Antoni. Jackson won 11 NBA championships as a coach — six with the Chicago Bulls and five with the Lakers. But he also won a title as a key reserve forward for the Knicks in 1973 and often credited former Knicks coach Red Holzman for sparking his interest in coaching.
“Don’t even go there,” Buss said. “That’s up to Phil. Whatever he does, he loves the game and he loves the guys that he’s coached. That will never change.”
Buss said Jackson paid particularly close attention to Lakers games, as well as those with some of his former players, including Lamar Odom (Dallas), Trevor Ariza (New Orleans), Luke Walton (Cleveland), Ronny Turiaf (Miami) and, yes, even Vladimir Radmanovic (Atlanta).
“He’s very positive about the Lakers and he’s very happy with the way they’re playing,” Buss said before the Lakers played Memphis on Sunday. “It’s important to him that for me, things are good. When the Lakers are winning, everything is smooth with business. He thinks they’re playing good defense and likes all the new players. He’s attached to the old ones, but he’s impressed with the talent on this team.”
Gilbert Arenas finally made his much-rumored appearance at Staples Center.
It was as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, not the Lakers.
He went through a workout last month that was attended by Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
Despite breathless media reports of how great Arenas looked, the Lakers weren’t that impressed.
He signed with Memphis last week after General Manager Chris Wallace got the idea from reading a Grizzlies fan blog.
Arenas did not play against the Lakers in Sunday’s game.
“I know he had a workout that Mitch attended,” Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. “Unless something gets real close or it might not even get close, I’m not always involved with the process. It never got to a point where they wanted my opinion on it or said we’re not going to do it because of this or that.”
Arenas, 30, scored four points in two previous games with the Grizzlies.
Brown stands alone.
After a busy, successful weekend for his family, he joked he was the only one who hadn’t won a championship.
His oldest son, Elijah, was part of Santa Ana Mater Dei High’s 66-48 victory over Sacramento Sheldon High in a state championship basketball game Saturday. Nirra Fields, a high school senior whom Brown and his wife assumed legal guardianship of last year, was also part of a championship Saturday when the Mater Dei girls’ team beat Berkeley High, 57-40.
Brown’s youngest son, Cameron, was on a freshman football team at Mater Dei that finished undefeated last fall.
“They’ve got hardware. I don’t have anything,” Brown said. “Right now, they talk about me pretty badly.”
Bresnahan is a Times staff writer. Medina is a Times correspondent.
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