How Phil Jackson lost the Lakers job

Kevork Djansezian

Mike D'Antoni is the next coach of the Lakers, but before we move forward, the whole world still wants to know what happened with Phil Jackson.

Phil Jackson got a phone call from Mitch Kupchak in the middle of the night on Sunday, telling him that the Lakers would hire Mike D'Antoni. Before that?

Jackson spent the hours before Kupchak's call watching the Bears game and then catching the latest compelling episode of "Homeland."

Phil Jackson likes Homeland, too! That's awesome. Although if we're being honest, this week was sort of a slow episode. The Dana storyline is already wearing a little thin, and they totally telegraphed that American terrorist's suicide when they showed the closeup of the glasses. But that's cool. I think you have to give them one or two episodes to set up the plot. I'm sure next week will be much better. Will Brody crack when the wheels go in motion for the next attack? Will Carrie crack and start to cry when things go wrong? (The answer is yes. Always yes.) Anyway, who knows. Phil's probably pretty psyched for next Sunday, though.

But back to the NBA. Over at the OC Register, Kevin Ding provides some great insight into the Lakers negotiations with Phil over the weekend, and if anything, it just confuses us more. For instance:

... there is no indication from either side that Jackson made the outlandish demands that appeared in media reports Sunday. Jackson ignored the reports because he figured the truth was that the negotiations were in reality going well. There was some talk about Jackson's disdain for travel, yes, but nothing concrete. They went through the roster together, but Jackson didn't demand personnel power over Kupchak's head. There was no equity stake in the franchise.

So if Phil Jackson wanted the job and wasn't making outlandish demands on Lakers management, why isn't he taking over the Lakers this week? For Phil's part, he was always under the impression he had the right of first refusal ... right up until that late night call from Kupchak.

Coach Nick on D'Antoni's offense.

Anyway, it certainly looks like the Lakers could've had either coach and chose D'Antoni outright. Was that because Jim Buss wanted to stick it to Phil Jackson? Because Lakers management didn't want to hand over the franchise to Phil for the third time? Were the egos on both sides too much to overcome?

We have no idea, but if the Lakers struggle at all this year, this won't be the last time we ask these questions. Even if D'Antoni proves successful, there's a chance that the Lakers made the right choice for the wrong reasons (Jim Buss' personal bitterness).

For now, read Ding's full piece at the OC Register for a clearer of picture of just how opaque the whole process really was. There's no better drama than Jim Buss and the batshit crazy Lakers this year, and it gets better every week.

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