Jeanie Buss says Phil Jackson was not offered a position with Lakers
Lamar Odom and Kobe Bryant share a laugh before a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on Nov. 9, 2010.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers star Kobe Bryant, left, speaks with Coach Byron Scott during a game against the San Antonio Spurs last December.(Eric Gay / Associated Press)
(Rob Carr / Getty Images)
Lakers star Kobe Bryant drives to the basket past Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers during a game at Staples Center on Jan. 13, 2015.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers star Kobe Bryant, left, poses for photos with FC Barcelona captain Andrés Iniesta Luján before a training session at the StubHub Stadium in Carson on July 20, 2015.(Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant poses for a photo at the Beverly Hills Hilton on July 18, 2014. Bryant was limited to 35 games during the 2014-15 season because of injury.(Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant fields questions from reporters surrounding him during the Lakers’ media day in El Segundo.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant fields questions from television reporters during the Lakers’ media day in El Segundo.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is surrounded by reporters while doing a radio interview during the Lakers’ media day in El Segundo.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Kobe Bryant tries to steal the ball from Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried during a game at Staples Center on Nov. 3.(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)
On Tuesday, the New York Knicks introduced Phil Jackson as president.
Later that night, Jeanie Buss, the Lakers co-owner and executive who is Jackson’s fiancée, said the Lakers didn’t have a job for him.
“He was not offered any official position,” said Buss on “Access SportsNet” on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. “There were a lot of Laker functions that Phil was with me, because he was there to support me in no official capacity. There is no role in the front office for him, for what he could contribute.”
The role of president is filled in the Lakers’ organization by Jeanie’s brother Jim Buss, also a co-owner.
Jim is in charge of the franchise’s basketball operations while Jeanie runs the business side.
After firing Mike Brown in 2012, the Lakers considered bringing back Jackson as head coach but chose to hire Mike D’Antoni instead. Jackson won five titles on the bench with the Lakers.
“It was clear that Phil wanted to go back to work,” said Jeanie. “He’s too good of a basketball mind to just sit at home in a rocking chair, playing solitaire.”
Buss and Jackson will have a bicoastal relationship. She’s already spoken to the NBA about any perceived conflict of interest.
“I had dinner with Commissioner Adam Silver last night,” said Buss. “I don’t anticipate any problem because I don’t make the basketball decisions on behalf of the Lakers. I really don’t see where there would be a conflict.”
Buss said her commitment to the Lakers hasn’t wavered.
“I’m as devoted as I’ve ever been,” she said.
Buss has been relatively scarce at Lakers games the last couple of seasons, with her father Jerry Buss hospitalized with cancer complications. He died in February 2013.
“Two years ago, I wanted to spend as much time with my father as I could,” said Jeanie. “In the last year I’ve spent that time with Phil, because people have to remember when he was coaching, he’d be gone half the time on the road.”
Now with Jackson out of town, Jeanie said she’ll be a more regular presence at games. She wishes her fiancée success with the Knicks, but only so much.
“The Lakers are my life,” she repeated. “For him, the Knicks will be a job, that will have a beginning, and hopefully for him, success, not over the Lakers, but in the Eastern Conference, and it will someday come to an end because he’s a hired person.
“This is going to be in my family forever,” said Buss.
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