Phil Jackson Says Lakers Had Handshake Agreement That He Would Make Decision on Monday


Phil Jackson was woken up at midnight to news that he would not be the Los Angeles Lakers’ next head coach.

The news that the Lakers had signed Mike D’Antoni came as a surprise to Jackson. In a released statement, Jackson said that he and the team had an agreement that he would make his final decision on Monday about whether or not he would come back to Los Angeles as head coach, according to ESPN Los Angeles’ Dave McMenamin. The Lakers signed D’Antoni late on Sunday night.

“I did not solicit or ask for the opportunity, but I welcomed both [Jim Buss] and Mitch Kupchak into my home to discuss the possibility of my return to the Lakers as the head coach,” said Jackson in his statement. “We talked for over an hour and a half. No contractual terms were discussed and we concluded with a hand shake and an understanding that I would have until Monday (today) to come back to them with my decision.”

Jackson said that Kupchak called him at midnight to inform him about the D’Antoni signing. Kupchak told Jackson that he thought D’Antoni was the best man for the job.

You can read Jackson’s full statement here.

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