Headhunting Jackson? Lakers say nobody’s tried to tempt the coach away
Phil Jackson has not been contacted for any NBA coaching vacancies, a Lakers official said Tuesday.
"Not to my understanding," Lakers spokesman John Black said. "Obviously, if they were to contact him, it would be tampering."
An ESPN report said the Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets went through "back channels" to gauge Jackson's interest in coaching their teams next season.
Jackson, 64, is in the final year of a contract that pays him $12 million this season. Earlier this month, he said he was not interested in coaching the Bulls.
"No, I'm not," Jackson said. "I think it's a wonderful job for whoever takes it. It's a team on the rise, and there's some young talent that showed their ability to come back after probably a devastating first two months."
The Bulls fired Vinny Del Negro after losing to Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs. The Nets fired Coach Lawrence Frank a month into the season and recently indicated they would not renew the contract of his replacement, General Manager Kiki Vandeweghe, who came down from the front office to coach the team the rest of the season. The Nets finished 12-70, the worst record in the NBA.
The Lakers play the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday in Phoenix. The Lakers lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1.
-- Mike Bresnahan, reporting from Phoenix