Lakers News: Bringing Phil Jackson Back into Organization Would Be a Mistake

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 21:  Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson speaks with Kobe Bryant of the Lakers before the memorial service for Los Angeles Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on February 21, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Buss died at the age of 80 on Monday following an 18-month battle with cancer. Buss won 10 NBA championships as Lakers owner since purchasing the team in 1979.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

If the Los Angeles Lakers are going to bring in Phil Jackson, they might as well just try to go all the way and make him the head coach again. But hasn't that option been eliminated already?

According to NBA insider Ric Bucher, both Jackson and Jeanie Buss would be open to some sort of more formal working partnership between the former head coach and the Los Angeles Lakers. Buss said:

He wants to be supportive of me and the organization. He has no contractual obligation. He would listen to anything where he might be able to help. If we asked him to fill in on the broadcast because someone was out, I'm sure he'd do it. Just because everyone puts him as a coach doesn't mean that's the only thing he's capable of doing.

As great a basketball mind as Jackson is, even he can't salvage what is the Lakers roster.

Even though he's recovering well from his Achilles injury, Kobe Bryant is still a 35-year-old with a lot of mileage on his body. Who knows what kind of player he'll be when he returns?

The rest of the likely starting lineup is Chris Kaman, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Nick Young. Wesley Johnson, Jodie Meeks, Steve Blake and Jordan Hill can come off the bench, too.

This is a team that has virtually no chance to win a title and will struggle to earn a playoff berth. Bringing in Jackson is not going to radically alter that.

But there are plenty of roles he could fill with the organization, right?

Maybe we should ask Mike D'Antoni if having Jackson work as a color man would be a good idea. There's nothing like having the "Zen Master" sitting courtside, possibly questioning some of your in-game decisions to all of the fans watching at home.

Perhaps D'Antoni would like having Jackson behind the scenes working with the team's front office. That's sure to build unity among the fanbase. Every Laker fan would band together against D'Antoni.

Los Angeles has been down this road before to a certain extent. It had a chance to make Jackson head coach again in 2012. Instead, D'Antoni was the choice to replace the fired Mike Brown.

For better or worse, the Lakers have hitched their wagons to D'Antoni. They have to do everything now to ensure he's the coach to bring them success.

That success isn't going to come if Jackson's shadow is hanging around the organization. Bringing him back to the Lakers in any sort of professional capacity just eases his possible return to the sideline in fans' minds. People will say, "Just hire Phil. He's already part of the organization."

Lakers fans have not been bashful about their desire to see the him rehired as head coach. In most cases, it makes sense to bring back a head coach who's won a combined 13 NBA titles as a coach and player.

Jackson is a bit of an exception.

The reasons why he wasn't hired are still a bit murky and unlikely to have changed much since November 2012. If Jackson comes back, he's still going to have a laundry list of demands, making it extremely difficult to accommodate him on the sideline.

He's simply not worth the hassle; if he were, the Lakers would have pulled the trigger in the first place.

One of the biggest problems for Los Angeles last year was all the drama surrounding the team. There was D'Antoni's job security, the relationship between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard and whether Howard would re-sign with the team.

Now that Howard is with the Houston Rockets, that's a lot of the drama quotient walking out the door. You don't want to give the "Fire D'Antoni" bandwagon any more of a push by bringing in Jackson.