Los Angeles Lakers

NBA Rumors: Phil Jackson's Possible Return Proves He's Ultimate Cherry-Picker

EL SEGUNDO, CA - MAY 11:  Phil Jackson, coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, speaks during his last official Lakers news conference at the team's training facility on May 11, 2011 in El Segundo, California. The Lakers were swept out of their best of seven series with the Dallas Mavericks four games to none. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIINovember 11, 2012

Phil Jackson's interest in returning to the Los Angeles Lakers doesn't surprise me at all. This is classic Jackson.

He bailed on the Lakers when the chips were down in 2011, but now, after Mitch Kupchak has assembled the best collection of talent around Kobe Bryant this side of South Beach, the Zen Master is interested in returning, per USA Today.

Jackson hasn't had a truly challenging coaching situation since he took over for Doug Collins as head coach of the Chicago Bulls in 1989. That team had to overcome the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference, and it had never won a championship before.

Even that group was on the cusp, and it happened to have the best player in history and the best second fiddle in Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, respectively.

I know every coach has to have talent to win championships, but Jackson has mastered the art of jumping ship at the right time and then making himself available for teams in need of a legendary presence.

The 11 championship rings are amazing, but the only thing bigger than his championship accomplishments is his own self-image.

The Lakers knew they couldn't involve any other coaching name in the process. Jackson's ego won't allow him to be a part of a coach-selection process. It's got to be all Phil or no Phil at all.

It's only a matter of time before he signs on the dotted line to become the Lakers head coach again.

Why wouldn't he? He gets to play Captain Save-A-Team again.

With a still-effective Kobe Bryant, the best young big man in the world in Dwight Howard (a.k.a. a dedicated Shaquille O'Neal) and an aging maestro at point guard in Steve Nash, the superior talent Phil requires is there.

Nash gives Jackson a component that none of his previous squads have had. Incorporating a conventional point guard into Tex Winter's Triangle Offense is perhaps the "challenge" Phil has targeted for this plunge.

This is an easy decision and a great situation for Jackson, but for once I'd like to see him try his hand with a less-than-ready-made team.

 

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