Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Phil Jackson points to health concerns as reason why he's considering retirement

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and guard Kobe Bryant sat upstairs Wednesday in the team's practice facility in El Segundo, pondering how magnificent it has been for the pair to experience seven NBA Finals in the past 10 seasons. Sure the run featured adversity, including Bryant's initial reluctance to embrace the triangle offense and the Zen Master's coaching philosophies, Jackson handling the Bryant-Shaq dynamic and, of course, the Lakers' 2004 Finals loss to Detroit that resulted in Jackson's departure.

And once again, Jackson and Bryant talked during the team's exit interviews with Jackson's future with the team remaining in question. Bryant would tell reporters afterward he had no inclination whether Jackson would return next season with a chance to win a 12th NBA championship, his sixth with the Lakers and third in a row, saying, "I'm sitting and waiting just like everybody else is." But there's no question that conversation sparked a moment of reflection with how much of the Lakers' success points to Jackson, whose presence, along with the additions of Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher, helped spur the Lakers to three consecutive Finals appearances after Jackson's first two seasons after his return yielded two first-round exits.

That kind of success usually drives Jackson to keep staying around. He mentioned at several points this season how a championship would significantly improve his chances of coming back. The team's talent and continuity would help make the grind of the NBA season less stressful, and he'd have the chance to earn a three-peat for the fourth time in his career, a possible milestone he described as "ridiculous." Yet, his focus this week has centered less on that and more on his health. He underwent a series of medical tests Monday and even missed the Lakers' championship parade, and he's been wearing a knee brace and nursing painful kidney stones. It's a sentiment he said he shared with players who asked during exit interviews about his coaching future.

"I'm leaning toward retiring," Jackson said. "But I have not made up my mind."

He planned to go through more tests following his exit interview as well as Thursday and hoped to reach a decision at the end of next week once he receives the various medical reports. This, of course, is nothing new, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak emphasized, as Jackson has routinely gone through examinations in past seasons before deciding to keep coaching. And even though Kupchak witnessed the numerous times Jackson told his players the possibility, he told reporters he'd be "very surprised" if he decided to stop coaching.

"As a coach, this is in your blood," Kupchak said. "This whole competitive player coaching kind of thing. I don't think money is a factor, although it's to some degree always a factor. But for a coach that has his success, not only coaching but 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. I think he would agree that this team is in a position based on several factors, injuries, some luck, sign some players this summer, [that] would be in a position to contend for a championship or maybe a year or two after that. Most coaches revel in having a situation like that. He's left his mark and can continue to leave his mark."

There ares several who may conclude this is just beginning of a tactical gamesmanship in the negotiating process, particularly because of numerous reports that suggested Lakers owner Jerry Buss wants Jackson to take a pay cut below his previous two-year, $23 million contract and perhaps because Andrew Bynum told The Times' Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner that Jackson wouldn't share with Bynum his decision . Aside from the fact that both Jackson and Kupchak said money isn't an issue, Jackson's demeanor and body language makes it appear he won't be back for an 11th season because of his health concerns.

Jackson had thought as early as last summer this would be his last season, a decision his family welcomed considering how taxing the seasons have become for the coach. Every so often, he folded his suits into a suitcase during a trip and thought this would be the last time he'd ever do this. And he noticed how hard it was for him to pace up and down the court.

"This is basically what it's about at this age, being in good health," said Jackson, 64. "I have to sit on it and do the right thing for myself. I wouldn't say I'm 95% sure or 50% sure. its just this is where I feel right now."

The Lakers all publicly said they hope he leans otherwise. Kupchak immediately told him after the Lakers beat the Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA FInals he'd like for him to return. He even joked that permission to  wear flip-flops could be added to his contract. And players who were asked about Jackson's future unanimously said they want him by their side.

"Our personality of our team is made up of his composure, thought processes and philosophies," Bryant said of Jackson. "It changes things drastically. I don't want to think about that right now. It's killing my buzz."

Yet, this is something Bryant and his teammates may have to ponder. Though Kupchak anticipated that  Bryant, Gasol, Bynum and Lamar Odom would adjust well to a different coach and a different offense, he acknowledged Ron Artest may go through another learning curve. Though Kupchak maintained his approach toward free agency doesn't change, it may affect the Lakers' free agents themselves, including Derek Fisher. And even if the Lakers have the talent to repeat, they won't have the same leader to follow.

Jackson positively affected the team in many ways. Players cite his meditation sessions as integral during the Finals against Boston in helping them remain calm. Sasha Vujacic said Jackson's reduction of minutes and blunt honesty helped sharpen his mental toughness to hit two clutch free throws to clinch Game 7. And Artest called Jackson his favorite coach, even when he fought frustration with knowing the triangle offense and Jackson criticizing his shot selection.

"He's got to take care of his health first, but hopefully he'll come back," Gasol said. "He's obviously a big part of our success."

That's why Jackson anticipates mixed emotions between himself and the team, most significantly with his assistant coaches Brian Shaw, Frank Hamblen and Jim Cleamons as well as Bryant and Fisher. But he expects they'll understand if he maintains his decision to retire.

"I've let them all know how I feel," Jackson said. "It won't be a surprise and it won't be any kind of a mystery why. They know that I've been debating this some time now."

And as Jackson continues to debate, Kupchak can only hope Jackson's medical results spur him to want to aim for another title.

"All those things add up for a good situation for a coach to continue to coach," Kupchak said. "But Phil has always been a little different. But he may take a different approach to this than even we might. So we'll wait to see what happens."

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: E-mail the Lakers blog at

Comments () | Archives (35)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Phil mentioned the idea of still having something to offer the game but maybe in a different way. And, I really don't know why he couldn't take a step back and move into a Tex Winter type of role. Remember, he'd mentioned wanting to share some duties with Rambis, basically transitioning into Rambis's eventual succession. And, it wasn't something that Kupchak wanted and we all know how that ended - Rambis took the job with the T-Wolves. Now, Jackson holds all the cards. If the rigors are too much and he doesn't want the same workload or level of travel, then there's no reason why Shaw couldn't take over with Jackson being a very active mentor/consultant. And if it doesn't play out that way and he's just ready to pack it in, then we need to put our trust in the foundation he's laid. He's given so much.

I'd love to see Phil stay and go for another 3-peat. However, if he doesn't, I wish him well, and am looking forward to seeing what another coach can do with this team. If it's another coach, I can only hope that they are somewhat defensive minded. Or at least someone who can stress the importance of defense. Imagine all those games that the Lakers were frustrating to watch. If they had at least put some effort in team defense, they would have come out winning at least half of those games if not more.

i'm glad everything's ok.

When you're chasing a goal, it's nonstop hustle and dedication towards reaching that goal. We saw that with Kobe and Pau's determination in playing year around the past 4 years in the NBA and in international competition. An amazing feat for both of them, winning 2 NBA championships along with exceptional accomplishments in world play.

Those two, Kobe and Pau, are amazing. To put in that much court time in at that level for so long without rest is astounding. To cap it off with a championship against the team that put so many questions into play about both Kobe and Pau. Wow! You cannot write a better script. Now it's time to rest for the summer.

As great as Kobe and Pau are as basketball players and human beings, they would not have won this championship without the supporting cast. Each individual Laker from Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, to Lamar Odom were imperative for the Lakers to win it. For that, the credit must be given to coach Phil Jackson. Coach Phil Jackson is the one that makes this all work the way it's supposed to.

We need Phil Jackson back in some way shape or form. If he wants to play the Tex Winter role, or something more involved, that's fine. If he needs to take a road trip off, that should be fine. I say let Phil Jackson choose his role, but always allow him to have a large say in the final coaching decisions. He should be acknowledged as the head coach, even though he's not with the team full time. I think these players would accept that from Phil Jackson. How that would translate into winning is another story, but I'm willing to take that chance.

Go Lakers!

If the kidney stones are a concerned, he should have them broken up and all so he can pass them or have surgery to remove them. The knee, figure out what's wrong and get surgery or whatever if necessary. He's got several months to recover and his assistants can carry the team early in the season under his instruction if needed. Phil needs to come back!!

well, lets try this. more to come, dispute as you will, it is worth what it costs, and please judge it on its own merits.

also, well, you know

Thanks, FCM, I hope you can spare enough time to keep up with all our offseasons Fooforall.

Fatty! - glad you are home in your home.

Tom Daniels- Do you get as much love as me around here? More? You should.

My ideal PG FA, at this point, is somebody who is far enough under the MLE to make the brain trust happy, (are we gonna get raja? Can we get him and anybody we want at PG? well, then, cool. )

Phil gone? Do we need a real PG if we don’t have the triangle? No, really. We still are the Lakers, we still are on the three or four, whatever we can get with Kobe track. Get the best possible PG for next or the next two years, whether Phil is back or not.

Y’all want Raja, see my 6th paragraph.

LTLF- Yeah, it would be worth it to sign Ray Felton for 12 Mil. But I guess we are looking for backup SG/SF + Backup PG for MLE (roughly 12+ mil?) (your math) what do you think?

Of course, if we get Raja, Then we get Sasha or Sasha’s salary for ? Not sure where we are going here.

LTLF- yeah, I am getting caught up. I do see that. Interesting. Oh wait, &*^# Kevin Dooling. Unless he wants to play of his &ss and impress me. Oh, I’m quibbling at this point. But can we still get Mike Miller? Cause he is the *((*@.

Damn, I’m glad we have Mitch in charge, instead of um, LakerPangloss. On the other hand, any GM could probably figure something out with the options we have, if Phil comes back, and probably otherwise, although Mitch might give us the inside track on Phil (maybe). I had another point here, not sure what it was.

Can we get Mike Miller?

LTLF- Can we trade Shannon if we give him an offer? Give him the offer, trade him for someone? By trade deadline? What do you think?

LTLF- I was with you until the Shaq part, and the BiAnnual Exemption (we
don’t have it) part.

LTLF- Great points about Luke.

Justa- Is Bynum healthy? ???

I’m still not working with the Futbol thing. Sweet Sixteen is nice, Landon Donavan, the goalie, that’s cool, but it takes years of conditioning for me.

LakerTom- jeez, shut the heck up about Collison. It’s more likely we could trade for Chris Paul if we wanted to take Okafor, except that would probably require us to trade Bynum. Seriously, though.




rocky- great points. I'm not sure the NBA will allow a guy to be both head coach and assistant coach on the road behind Brian Shaw, although that would be nice. Does Phil want to be an assistant? for 12 Mil? Behind B Shaw at less, but he's the 'Head Coach?'

A bit too implausible for me, but hopefully they can work something out.

Phil- I don’t suppose an impassioned plea by a loyal Los Angeles Times blog commentator can sway your thought, even if he is a resident of South Dakota and a huge booster of the Lakota Nation, But if you should pass this way, I hope you hear my plea; Please, Phil, you can do it.

Your players lived up to your expectations, Drew put his long term health inferior to the title, Hopefully, you can do no less than put off ,no, we don’t want you to give your long term health to our team, just to make a small concession, then do whatever it take to get healthy next year.

You deserve (despite your indiscretions re Kobe in your last book) a retirement free from regret, with 12 rings and the love of you players, no question. Please at least give us one more for the championship. Listen to Drew. He doesn’t have your financial security, he doesn’t have your accomplishments, but this is worth it to him.

Please Phil, serve that which is higher than yourself, even in this small way of dedicating yourself to basketball and it’s fickle gods.

beginning of "a tactical gamesmanship" should be => "beginning of tactical games"..or "beginning of tactical gamesmanship"...

Bryant would tell reporters afterward :he had no inclination" whether Jackson would return next season ....He had no "inclination" whether ???

I have to say your writing doesn't quite match the quality of your content.


inferior= insubordinate.



You had mentioned Byron Scott got Hornets to the best record in the WC. True he did that. But you had mentioned "The #2 player of the team was Tyson Chandler", No, the #2 was David West, who is a very good PF, IMO.

Also, Byron is what he is currently - he is a regular season coach. He has taken the Nets deep into playoffs is true, but overall, he has only been an average/regular season coach

Another thing to the Coach K lovers here: Why are we talking so much about his "coaching skills" in Team USA getting Olympic gold??

I dont think he had to do any coaching for that. A starting 5 of mega-stars in Wade, Kobe, James, Carmelo and Bosh, that group does not need a coach at all!!

Most Overrated Coach EVER!!

The Sheriff's office would like to let y'all know that we are endorsing Jeff Van Gundy as the next coach of the Lakers should the Zen Master decide he needs some time off.

Brian Shaw ... umm call us when you've been head coach somewhere else. We're not saying you can't do a great job, just saying you need more stripes before applying for the best job in basketball.

Byron Scott ... you've always been our first choice but after your recent debacle in new orleans, we're not able to file a credible defense against criticism that you're just a hustle coach. Throw in Avery Johnson's epic collapse agains the miami heat and Mike Brown handing Lebron to NYC (two coaches also branded as hustle guys) and we're left feeling uneasy about handing you the keys to our dynasty.

Pat Riley ... this is the ideal coach for the lakers in our humble opinion. J Buss has made no secret of wanting to demolish the triangle and bring back showtime. Riley coached that team so it makes perfect sense to ask him to come back. Unfortunately he has an ownership stake in Miami and thus is literarily off the market.

Jeff Van Gundy ... a Riley disciple and has enough pedigree to command respect from this team. Hiring him also comes with the added benefit that we'll no longer have to listen to his rants on abc. And oh lest we forget, for those mamba faithfuls that forget MJ is Kobe's idol and simply want to see MJs reputation as all time king of the hill devoured by kobe, Van Gundy disliked his airness so y'all got that in common.

Mamba24, we'd like the mayor's office to back this endorsement as well. Failure to do so might result in us leaking those comprising photos of you in tahiti.

Kobe says after having the knee drained it was fine so surgery not likely.

Does anyone know what's wrong with his knee?
Is it something that surgery would fix?
Without surgery, half way through next season does it start to act up again?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Is there a Dr. in the house?

Showtime Redux

Buss Jr wants to bring back showtime?

Is that even possible?
Wasn't Magic Showtimes main ingredient?

The Suns played a speedy game for a while, but it wasn't Showtime was it?

I suppose the Lakers could play a more up tempo style, but it wouldn't be Showtime without the Magic man.

Fisher bringing the ball up just doesn't put visions of Showtime in my head.

If PJ leaves, poor Ron Ron.
After just starting to figure it out, a new system for him.
Better keep that shrinks number on speed dial Ron.

Van Gundy?
Why not AL Bundy.

Let Phil go, bring in Doc Rivers who I think will take this team to another championship. Last I heard Doc Rivers is leaving Boston.

Fisher can coach this team, he knows the system, the players, and is very good at motivating players. Kobe respects and listens to Fishers, that's very important for a new coach.

Good morning,

There's a lot for a Lakers fan to digest so soon after a Championship run. The stark reality that Phil Jackson may not return when a 3-peat is in sight is mindboggling. Mark Heisler's article on the Lakers' new austerity program is troubling.

What to think?

PJ may very well have decided to quit while he's ahead. He's already got all the legacy any human being might need. We and the players would all like him to return, but from his perspective, why? We're talking about Phil. He's not the kind of guy who needs a victory lap. So where does that leave the team?

What hasn't been talked about is the return of Kurt Rambis. It's very possible. The Lakers have a ton of late round draft choices they don't need. They can be sold for money. I wouldn't put it past Mitch Kupchak to sell these draft choices to the T-Wolves for the rights to Kurt Rambis.

I personally would be OK with Brian Shaw, but I'd be surprised if it would be OK with Dr. Buss. JVG would be another choice I can accept; he's a strong enough personality to deal with the current eclectic group of players. Byron Scott? Not for me; his reputation for quickly wearing out his welcome isn't right for a team that likes dynasties.

Heisler's viewpoint on a new Lakers austerity program just seems wrong. Not to mention that if Heisler and I were to look at the same watch, we still couldn't agree on what time it was. You don't re-sign Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and then short-change their right to be champions. You don't break up a championship team so quickly unless you're the Florida Marlins, and we all know how that worked out. You don't plan to raise ticket prices and then offer the fans less for their money.

Some changes remain on the table. Moving Lamar and his expensive contract considering his limited impact against his potential makes some sense, considering how many free agents are out there. If the Lakers can sign Raja Bell and a decent point guard, there's no need to retain Shannon Brown, despite his highlight reel athleticism. Mitch Kupchak has already let it be known the team would like Derek Fisher back with or without PJ and I'm OK with that as long as a viable alternative is also on the roster.

But I wouldn't look for too many changes. Stability is an enormous factor in making a team successful and supersedes a ton of other options. The right coach is key. What plays out over the next week will keep us in suspense. But I sure would welcome some time this summer to decompress before acute Lakerholism kicks in again.

I'm with all the folks who can't wait to see Phil Jackson leave. I myself am tired of being forced to spend my Junes watching NBA basketball. Planning my schedule around the games. Programming the DVR. All the stress of a tight series. and all those pesky championship parades. Let's get rid of Phil now, hire Del, or Rudy T., or Dunleavy, or Randy Pfund. Butch van Breda Kolff's ghost. Think of all the time it will free up.

And by all means let's trade our big guys and get smaller while we are it. That way we can run more like Phoenix or Dallas. Fun to watch all winter but done playing by summer so it won't affect our vacation plans.

Count me in!!

Tom D.


I dont get much love, but I don't get much hate mail either. It works out just fine.

Tom D.

If the triangle goes, the triangle goes. The triangle offense is just that, offense.
but how did we win the championship this year? That's right, DEFENSE!!!

I'm so ready for a new system, so long as the defense stays on hit. The Lakers don't need Jackson (much love for PJ from me for what he's done for us, btw) to win another ring next season. What they need is a coach that Kobe, Pau and Artest respect enough to play for, the Lakers are stacked enough that they can do it under a new system.

I've been on this blog alot longer than you billy bobbin on my head.
Laker fan before you were born.
My opinion only.
The Troll Man moniker is tongue in cheek, regulars get it, your don't.

I do not like Phil, or Fish
So bring back the apple dumpling gang one more year and I'll keep complaining and probably have to eat some more crow next year too.

Sorry Bro, you must be REALLY old as I am 53. A true Laker fan would not complain about the Coach and/or player responsible for so much success especially after winning the title, it makes no sense. Your comments just struck a nerve with me. I'm not sure any of us should complain after what we just witnessed, it is just a game but oh my what a fun game it is for us lucky fans who get to watch.
There are a lot of good teams/coaches/players and systems in the NBA but it seems intuitivly obvious which ones are the best, who just won the title? Again.

>>>Of course, if we get Raja, Then we get Sasha or Sasha’s salary for ? Not sure
>>>where we are going here.

I actually had a thought on that...

Some teams are still trying to dump salary to free up enough cap space to make offers to TWO big free agents instead of just one. For example, New Jersey's dumped Chris Douglas Roberts for a future second round pick. And teams are also dumping salary either to free up cap space for NEXT summer, or just to get future salary off their books.

How about Sasha for Kirk Hinrich. Or Sasha for Jarrett Jack. Or Sasha & something for Jose Calderon.

Any of those would take on a couple of extra years of salary over what they're committed to Sasha for, but would give them an upgrade at starting PG. Then Fish could come off the bench and close out games.

BTW, I don't think they'd offer Bell anywhere near a full MLE. Maybe 3-million tops. They'd be banking on the fact that he'd be willing to take less to contribute to a championship team. It's like Artest's situation last summer, but Bell isn't nearly the player that Artest is.

>>>Kevin Dooling. Unless he wants to play of his &ss and impress me. Oh, I’m
>>>quibbling at this point.

When's the last time you watched Keyon Dooling play. He used to KILL the Lakers when he was with Orlando. He's a good defender and made 38% of his 3-pointers last season. The season before, when he got more PT, he made 42% of his 3-pointers. Those are the two things I look for most in a triangle PG - defense, and the ability to hit 3-pointers. As a bonus, his assist to turnover ratio is >2, so he does take care of the ball.

>>> But can we still get Mike Miller? Cause he is the *((*@.

Good question. I like Mike Miller, and Kobe actually likes him too, from having played with him on the national team. Miller might be someone worth paying MLE level bucks to, but he's a SG/SF, definitely not a PG. So is it worth paying the full MLE for someone to backup Artest and Kobe?

I'm not sure.

Phil is now 64 and according to the Beatles you are an old man at that age. When you become old and gray, the motivation to prove something unprecedented becomes less attractive, you cling more on memories and putting them down in print before forgetting them due to senility. At your own twilight, your patience is also wearing out in doing the same things all over again i.e. rigorous training during preseason, traveling with the team check-in & check out of hotels, being under duress on road games, keeping up with pressures of your jackass irresponsible players, in other words it is the age of becoming grumpier and impatient. These are the things that Phil would be feeling at this time. On the other hand, he wants to please his lovable GF, Jeanie, wants to please his victorious team and owner, wants to please his fans to give it one more try who are always hungry for more blood and glory however for Phil, it is just prolonging the agony because at most, he would coach for only one more season and may not get the same results so why not quit while ahead.

The scenario could be he would take a rest for a year or two and heal those fragile nerves and aching muscles, if there's a last hurrah left after two years, he might come back. I think it will not be with the Lakers but with the Knicks where he started his career. It is a sort of a circle of life before going for a permanent retirement.

We need Phil back. Pure and simple.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Coach K and Byron Scott is a challenge for the Lakers whether they are really a team of dynasty or under the spell of Phil Jackson. If you are a good team, you can make wonders in any system employed by the aforementioned Coach. Unfortunately, people are afraid to gamble, they want to continue what Phil & Tex have started. I remember when Riley moved to NY and Pfund became the Coach, our fans were geared towards Showtime. they always associate success to the coaching style not on new direction. It also happened in 2004 when Phil suddenly left the Lakers, they were looking for the triangle in Coach Rudy T. Why not give a space and try out something new? In any parlance, a Champ will always be a Champ in any system.


>>>LTLF- Can we trade Shannon if we give him an offer? Give him the offer,
>>>trade him for someone? By trade deadline? What do you think?

Shannon's not a restricted free agent. He's on the second year of a two-year deal where there's a player option on the second year. As such, I don't think the Lakers can trade him right now. I think AFTER he opts in, they could trade him, or if he opts out and if Shannon was willing, they could sign and trade him for more money. I think from Shannon's pov, it would depend on the team. Is it worth 5 million a year if he has to play in Minnesota? Probably not. But if the team and the city aren't too bad, and if it meant he'd make more money, I think Shannon might go for it.

>>>LTLF- I was with you until the Shaq part, and the BiAnnual Exception (we
>>>don’t have it) part.

Each team has an exception called the BiAnnual exception that they can use once every two years. It's about 2 million bucks right now. The Lakers DIDN'T offer anyone the BiAnnual Exception last season, they can offer it this year. So here's what the Lakers can offer potential free agents:

Jordan, Shannon, Mbenga, and Morrison: The Lakers can offer as much as they want, up to the league max. They can make these offers regardless of the other offers, because they own full Bird Rights on these four players.

Josh Powell - he's only been with the Lakers two years, so they can only offer him the Early Bird exception - anything up to about the league average salary (basically, same as the MLE). This also won't count against the other exceptions.

Offers the Lakers could make to other free agents:

The Mid-Level exception. The MLE for 2010-2011 hasn't been calculated yet, but for 2009-10, it was $5.854 million. They could offer a contract starting at that amount with up to 8% raises per year for a max of 5 years. They could offer that full amount to one player (as they did with Ron Artest last summer), or they could split it up into multiple offers (one player at 3 million, one at 2 million, or whatever)

The Bi-annual exception. The Biannual for 2009-10 started at 1.672 million. Note that the Bi-annual has a max of 2-years with 8% raises.

League minimum salary. This will vary depending on how many years the player has been in the league. For example, a player that has been in the league for 5 years would make $992,680 for the 2010-2011 season, and a player that bad been in the league for 10+ years would make $1,352,181.

Once you've used up the Mid-level and Bi-annual exception money, you can only pay league minimum salaries or re-hire your existing players.

So there you have it. The Lakers options are:

re-hire existing players
just under 6 million (could be split up)
just under 2 million (could be split up)
minimum contracts

Ruud Van Nistelroy,

>>>The #2 player of the team was Tyson Chandler", No, the #2 was David West,
>>>who is a very good PF, IMO

Okay, fine. West was second best.

And let's be overly generous and say Chris Paul is as good as Kobe (which he's not quite).

Does David West measure up to Pau? Not even Close

Does Tyson Chandler measure up to Bynum? No way

Does Peja Stojakovic measure up to Ron Artest? not

Does Morris Peterson measure up to Derek Fisher? uh-uh

Does Bonzi Wells measure up to Lamar Odom? nope

Does Jannero Pargo measure up to Jordan Farmar? questionable

Does Rasual Butler measure up to Shannon Brown? maybe

Hope you get the point by now. That New Orleans team had some talent, but not NEARLY the amount of talent the current Lakers had. Byron Scott took a team with one truly great player, one All-Star, and just some good role players beyond that and led them to a better season than a Nash-Shaq-Amare Suns team, a Duncan-Ginobili-Parker Spurs team, a Yao-McGrady Houston team, and a Nowitzki-Howard-Terry-Harris/Kidd Dallas team, among others.

Byron got more out of marginal players that season than Popovich and D'Antoni and Adelman and Avery Johnson got out of better talent.

When he was with the Nets, Byron Scott took Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin, and Richard Jefferson to the finals twice. Those are good players, but Shaq+Kobe trumps those three every time. But he did manage to beat out the Pierce-Walker-Anderson Celtics, Larry Brown's 76ers (previous year's runner up), and the Stackhouse-Cliff Robinson-Corliss Williamson let Pistons. Okay, so the East was weak, but Kidd-Martin-Jefferson isn't exactly overwhelming.

Note that none of Kidd, Martin, or Jefferson has made it to the finals either together or apart with any other coach than Byron Scott.

And as for comparing Mike Brown vs Byron Scott... Brown made it to the finals once and got swept. Scott has made it to the finals twice, and won two games (vs a tough San Antonio team) the second time. And note that when Lawrence Frank took over the next year, he didn't even make it to the Eastern Conference finals. And he HAD Kidd, Martin, and Jefferson. Same talent, less results.

I get the impression that Byron Scott is hard on his players (Larry Brown has a similar rep), and that the players eventually get tired of him and turn on him.

But Byron has never had a top-50-all time player, and he's managed to get slightly lesser talent to overachieve. I think if he was given the level of talent the Lakers currently have, he could get them back to the top.


Now I'm confused with the BiA. KB blitz said that it was used on Shannon's contract while you claimed they didn't. Which is which? What kind of contract does Shannon have, is it just a plain two year contract with player's option after one year?

>>>I dont think he had to do any coaching for that. A starting 5 of mega-stars in
>>>Wade, Kobe, James, Carmelo and Bosh, that group does not need a coach at all!!

Tell that to the 2004 Olympic Mens Basketball team that was equally loaded and came in 3rd. Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo, Amare Stoudemire, etc. Plenty of talent there... no gold.

Or the 2006 World Championship team: LeBron, Wade, Carmelo, Dwight Howard, Bosh, Elton Brand, Chris Paul, Joe Johnson. ALSO game in 3rd (and with Krzyzewski as coach, I might add).

Just throwing a bunch of stars together and letting them do whatever doesn't cut it anymore at the international level.

>>>I dont think he had to do any coaching for that. A starting 5 of mega-stars in
>>>Wade, Kobe, James, Carmelo and Bosh, that group does not need a coach at all!!

Tell that to the 2004 Olympic Mens Basketball team that was equally loaded and came in 3rd. Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo, Amare Stoudemire, etc. Plenty of talent there... no gold.

Or the 2006 World Championship team: LeBron, Wade, Carmelo, Dwight Howard, Bosh, Elton Brand, Chris Paul, Joe Johnson. ALSO game in 3rd (and with Krzyzewski as coach, I might add).

Just throwing a bunch of stars together and letting them do whatever doesn't cut it anymore at the international level.

>>>Now I'm confused with the BiA. KB blitz said that it was used on Shannon's
>>>contract while you claimed they didn't. Which is which? What kind of
>>>contract does Shannon have, is it just a plain two year contract with player's
>>>option after one year?

hmmmm. I was thinking the Lakers used early Bird rights with his contract, but now that I look at it, KB Blitz is probably right. Shannon had only been under contract 1 year with the Magic/Lakers, so there would have been no Bird rights at all (even Early bird), so it must have been the Biannual.

My mistake. So they have about 2 million less to spend on other free agents.

SIGN TMACCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC and another point guard or re-sing fish and train brown to be a better PG instead of a UPS delivery guy... lol

whts wrong with TMAC? his willing to take a pay cut, sit on the bench, and let kobe lead the team... what else can we ask for!!!

its simple a few years back when ron ron went to sac i wanted him in L.A. we didnt get him . now we have him we won the whole thing. now i am sayin to you L.A. bring DIRK to L.A.!!!! we dont need t-mac , we need to keep shannon BEEZZY ( yes lets start calling shannon brown BEEZZY BABY), keep d-fish and and bring DIRK . another gaint on the floor . just here this out fish, kobe, drew, gasol, and Drik!! yea it might seem that it wouldnt work but LO and ROn ROn off the bench!!! with nthose guy leading the second unit they will get the job done !!! just think bout it L.A. p.s.the only reason some said Kobe is not the greats LAKER of all times is cuz he has no BIRd !! and as far as MJ, well 1 more ring KOBE then he will be rite up there



In Case You Missed It...


All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



About the Bloggers

Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »

Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:

In Case You Missed It...