Lakers Rumors: Phil Jackson 'Significantly Involved' in LA's HC Search

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 3, 2022

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson answers questions during a news conference at the team's training facility, Friday, April 14, 2017, in Greenburgh, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Hall of Fame coach is "significantly involved" in the Lakers' search for a replacement for Frank Vogel.

"This is very much a committee in L.A. putting together this coaching search," Wojnarowski said Tuesday on NBA Today. "One person who is certainly significantly involved is Phil Jackson. He's got a voice in this. He did last time when they hired Frank Vogel, he and Kurt Rambis."

The involvement of Jackson and Rambis in the Lakers' coaching search is emblematic of the front-office woes that have been plaguing the franchise for the better part of a decade. While the arrival of LeBron James and Anthony Davis did result in the 2020 NBA championship, that is the only time in the last 10 years the Lakers have been out of the first round of the playoffs.

Lakers president Jeanie Buss has been hesitant throughout this time to seek counsel from people outside her inner circle. Jackson and Rambis are two of her closest confidants, and Rambis' wife Linda is one of her closest friends. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was Kobe Bryant's longtime agent and had an excellent working relationship with the franchise; Pelinka was hired alongside Lakers legend Magic Johnson.

The refusal to look for help outside this inner circle wouldn't be so concerning if Jackson and Rambis had better track records. While Jackson is arguably the greatest coach in NBA history, his tenure as an executive with the New York Knicks was a disaster. Rambis was Jackson's longtime assistant coach with the Lakers but was one of the NBA's worst coaches when he got chances at head coaching jobs and does not have a proven track record as an executive.

What's more, Jackson and LeBron James have a contentious relationship dating back to when Jackson called James' business associates a "posse" in 2016. 

After a complete mess of a season in 2021-22, Buss should be looking long and hard at bringing in true outside voices to right the ship. Instead, it seems it's more of the same.