Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Only Phil Jackson can replace Phil Jackson.
The Lakers’ 2004-2005 season without Jackson ended with them missing the playoffs. This was the first time that Bryant missed the playoffs, and only the fifth time the Lakers missed the playoffs in franchise history.
"Most everybody believes I'm not going to fulfill this 'last stand' promise and I will come back and coach again but it really is [my last season]," Jackson said in an interview to Hannah Storm. “I really want to do this for myself.”
Jackson came back and led Los Angeles to two more championships.
What will happen if Jackson leaves again?
“Well, I've had a couple retirements in the process,” Jackson said to Storm. “In the 1998-99 season and also the 2004-05 sabbatical, which was quite enjoyable. And last year, I didn't have a contract at the end of the year so, there was those things that have gone on that have contributed to the fact that it's the last year, but, maybe. ... This year, there's no maybe.”
Will Bryant go back to his ball chucking ways if Jackson is gone? Who will control Bryant’s, at times, selfish playing style?
Without Jackson, even if the Lakers play well, they are not guaranteed to be title contenders.