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Mitch Kupchak says he would be 'very surprised' if Phil Jackson doesn't coach next season

June 23, 2010 |  2:52 pm

We'll have more posts along with video throughout the day and night, but here are a few highlights from Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak regarding Phil Jackson's stance that he's leaning toward retirement.

Below are a few snippets as well as audio of the complete interview

-- Kupchak's reaction to Jackson's possible retirement: "My understanding was he was contemplating continuing or contemplating retirement and he would do what he always does, take a couple weeks -- or in this case, a week, maybe, because the season went longer than it normally does -- and let us know his decision. I think he's still going to do that."

-- Kupchak said he would be "very surprised" if Jackson doesn't return: "I think as a coach, this is in your blood, this whole competitive player coaching kind of thing. I don't think money is a factor, although to some degree always a factor. But for a coach that has his success not only coaching and as a player, he's experienced the best of the best with his championships. It's really not something you'd like to see come to an end."

-- Kupchak said there's no timetable for when he needs to know Jackson's official decision.

-- When asked if there's anything the organization can do more to ensure that Jackson returns, Kupchak said, "Probably not. I think he has all the information he needs to make that decision." He downplayed recent reports that Jackson would have to take a pay cut, saying the Lakers would be able to find an agreement,

-- On how the team would be affected if Jackson left: "The players we have under contract right now, I don't think it makes a difference what offense they run. You don't know if you'd have the same level of success, but they're adaptable."

-- Kupchak said a coaching vacancy would affect "to some degree" how he addresses free agency but declined to get into specifics, including the team's reported interest in Raja Bell.

Mitch Kupchak exit interview

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com


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