It's one thing to disrespect a (ringless) former NBA Coach of the Year (Mike Brown) by firing him five games into the season.
It's an entirely different animal, though, to disrespect a coaching legend (Phil Jackson), who has more championship rings (13, including 11 as a coach) than fingers to wear them on.
Whether or not Jackson's contract demands were too outlandish for the Los Angeles Lakers to cave (reportedly fueled by a desire to embarrass Jim Buss at the negotiation table, as one source told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports), the organization still owed their former coach much better treatment than what they showed.
According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Jackson said he entertained Lakers executives Buss and Mitch Kupchak for the better part of two hours on Saturday. Jackson said that the conclusion of this meeting was that he would have two days to mull over a possible return to the Lakers' sideline. When Kupchak informed him that the team had decided to sign former Suns and Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni just a day later, Jackson was rightfully shocked.
Regardless of whether or not Jackson's depiction was 100 percent correct, the negotiations appear as shady as the Lakers' short leash on Brown looked. Given what Jackson has accomplished over the course of his career, he clearly deserved better than this.
Throw in the fact that the Lakers' front office enjoyed a front-row view of so many of his accomplishments, and it's a bit surprising that the Zen Master has handled the situation as well as he has.
Jackson could have simply spread his championship rings across the negotiation table. If that wasn't enough, he could have recited some of the glowing remarks about Jackson that Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant had made in recent days.
Of course, the Lakers have already put their eggs in the D'Antoni basket.
But that doesn't mean that Jackson has to stay retired.
The growing number of NBA superteams underlines the fact that while the Lakers had other options in their coaching search, Jackson also could have more options with future employers.
Without speculating on any possible landing points, a coaching guru should have his pick of situations. Fueled by the blasphemous treatment at the hands of Buss and Kupchak, Jackson may already be working on his list.
If he feels healthy enough to work an NBA sideline, Jackson must work his way back into the head coaching ranks.
There would not be a more fitting end to this drama than to see a Jackson-led team defeat the mighty Lakers in an NBA championship series.
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