The Los Angeles Lakers have their eye on 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson and say they will meet with Jackson next week about returning for a third run with the team. The Lakers fired coach Mike Brown on Friday after a 1-4 start and now want Jackson, who won five titles in 11 seasons with the Lakers.
The L.A. Times reports that The Lakers are closing in on a deal. One person in the organization told the Times it was "95%" for certain.
According to The New York Times, Lakers management has backup plans, should Jackson decline: former New York Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni, former Los Angeles Clippers head coach Mike Dunleavy and former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan.
Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff led the Lakers to a blowout win over Golden State Friday night. The Lakers said Bickerstaff will coach the club in a home game against Sacramento on Sunday night.
Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard have voiced their interest in playing for Jackson.
“You all know how I feel about Phil,” Bryant said to reporters after Friday's game. “One thing that’s always bothered me, his last year, I wasn’t able to give him my normal self because I was playing on one leg. He’s too great of a coach to go out that way.”
Bryant says as long as Jackson's health is up to it, he thinks Jackson would return. Jackson is currently 67.
Sources tell ESPN that Jackson will make his decision on Monday.