Phil Jackson Decision on Lakers Coaching Job Expected Monday, With Hall of Famer Not Sure He Wants to Return

Phil Jackson has known for months that he wanted to coach again. Mike Brown was quickly removed from the Lakers job once a suitable testing period (five games) had been completed. Kobe Bryant wanted Jackson’s return. Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash would be lifted to their full potential just as soon as Jackson, who was about as sure to take the job the minute it opened as Alabama was to go undefeated this season, finally committed.

But hold up. Not all of that has happened — or can happen, if Jackson isn’t falling over himself with interest in the job like everyone thinks he is.

Chris Broussard reports via ESPN Los Angeles that Jackson has met with the Lakers and laid out his terms, with a decision expected Monday — but with plenty of outliers still involved.

“He’s intrigued by the job but not completely sure it’s the right thing to do,” Broussard quotes a source as saying.

Jackson reportedly met with executive vice president Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak on Saturday, a conversation that included salary requests, control over basketball decisions and some travel restrictions that would keep Jackson — who has battled hip and knee problems — from having to go to every road game. But while Jackson is clearly the Lakers’ choice, and all signs seem to point to Brown’s ouster as being specifically to clear the way for Jackson, it’s not a done deal.

Former Suns and Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni was also interviewed, via phone, on Saturday, according to ESPN. The Lakers are also said to be planning to interview former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy.

Jackson remains the frontrunner — if he wants it.

“I can’t imagine this not working out,” one source told ESPN.

With reservations now popping up on a hiring that was termed as likely as 95 percent, the Lakers may be pressed to give in to Jackson’s demands. A hungry fan base knew there was a very good chance Jackson would return, and fans likely won’t be pleased with anyone else — even if it is Jackson’s call in the end.

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We cannot explain. We can only enjoy.

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“Two of the three national championship teams that I coached lost a game. This team still has an opportunity to win the West and go to the SEC championship game and win a championship. There’s still a lot for this team to play for.”
– Nick Saban, saying what he had to say after the upset of the year

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That would send this saga in a Knicks-ian direction.

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