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Lakers' Jeanie Buss Told Phil Jackson Not to Take Knicks Job, Says Charley Rosen

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2020

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

Phil Jackson didn't work out as team president of the New York Knicks, and he was apparently warned by multiple people not to take the job in the first place.

"I told him not to take it because it’s crazy there," Jackson's confidant and biographer Charley Rosen said, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. "Jeanie [Buss] told him not to take it. If he came there, it would end their relationship 3,000 miles away."

Jackson and Buss, co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, began dating in 1999 and got engaged in 2012. They broke up in 2016, about two years into Jackson's tenure with the Knicks.

Buss had previously acknowledged she wanted Jackson on the Lakers staff, but her brother, Jim Buss, decided not to hire him back. Once he left for New York, their relationship was apparently doomed.

"One way or the other, it was going to cost us our relationship," she said, per Kavitha A. Davidson of ESPNW. "If he would have stayed home and had nothing to do, he would have driven me crazy."

Jackson was extremely successful as a head coach with the Chicago Bulls and Lakers, winning a combined 11 NBA titles. Things didn't go as well when he moved to the front office in New York.

Shortly after being hired in March 2014, he installed former player Derek Fisher as a head coach, who lasted less than two seasons.

In three years with Jackson in the front office, the Knicks never won more than 32 games, and they haven't recovered with zero postseason berths in the three years since.

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