NBA Ensures Phil Jackson and Jeannie Buss Will Avoid Conflicts of Interest

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 20, 2014

Jeanie Buss, left, Los Angeles Lakers executive vice president of business operations, and former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson sit during the first half of their NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks, Tuesday, April 2, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

If you're expecting the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks to merge and form a superteam, you might seriously want to reconsider that. Even though Phil Jackson is now moving from one side of the country to the other, nothing of that sort is going to happen. 

"Hold on. Slow down," you might be saying. "Why would I be thinking that?" 

Well, Jackson is now the acting president of the Knicks, and Jeanie Buss remains the president of the Lakers. Oh, and they're engaged. 

The NBA has already taken note of any potential conflict of interests, and it's making the two executives sign a document used to prevent any unfortunate situation from arising, per ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne: 

As Shelburne and Darren Rovell wrote, "The league is sensitive to the impression of any impropriety. On Tuesday, Lakers forward Pau Gasol told reporters that he isn't allowed to talk to his former coach because he'll be a free agent and any talks with Jackson could be considered tampering."

It's a tricky issue, one that will be treated with extreme caution by all involved parties. And while it's something that won't come up again unless the situation demands it, it's not hard to think of a few examples that could force action by the Association. 

Seth Wenig/Associated Press

What happens if Carmelo Anthony opts out of his contract and then signs a max deal with the Lakers this summer? You can bet that pejorative opinions will pop up rather quickly, accusing Jackson of steering 'Melo in his fiance's direction after he was sure the forward wouldn't re-sign with his own team. 

What if the Lakers and Knicks want to make a trade? In that case, NBA commissioner Adam Silver might be tempted to pull a David Stern and veto the deal for "basketball reasons." 

Again, it's a tricky issue. 

But then again, when have the Lakers and Knicks ever liked avoiding headlines?