Los Angeles Lakers part-owner Jeanie Buss has dismissed speculation linking Phil Jackson - her fiancee and current president of the New York Knicks - to a future role in the Los Angeles Lakers front office.
Speaking on the NBA A to Z podcast, Buss distanced herself from the recent rumours, insisting there are no plans to replace her brother Jim with the man who won four titles with the Lakers as head coach.
"It really isn’t about trying to get him back here (to the Lakers),” she explained to USA Today's Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt. “He is happy with what he is doing, and he...is up for the (Knicks) challenge, and he’s seeing the results of the work that he’s put in.
“He is happy with what he is doing, and he...is up for the (Knicks) challenge, and he’s seeing the results of the work that he’s put in. But he has a ways to go.”
Jackson took on the position of Knicks president back in March 2014 and his time in charge of basketball operations has been a mixed bag. Success (drafting Kristaps Porzingis) has been coupled with setbacks (the hiring and firing of Derek Fisher).
In the equivalent role at the Lakers, Jim Buss is increasingly under pressure to bring back the glory days to the famous gold and purple franchise even if Jackson isn't being lined up as his replacement.
According to Jeanie, she is still holding her sibling to his promise of taking the Lakers to the second round of the playoffs by 2017:
“I think that (Jim) was very sure of himself when he promised that timeline, and I think that he has everything he needs to fulfill that promise of getting the team back competitive,” she said.
“And when I say competitive, it’s competing for the Western Conference Finals, which would mean at least second round (of the playoffs) – if not more.
"They have earned the right to take the time that they’ve needed to put together what they want to have out on the court, and if they can’t do that then we have to reexamine how things are going.”
Because of his success at the Lakers, Jackson's name will always be linked when a senior role becomes available in Los Angeles.
For now, though, both the Knicks and Lakers appear content with their current situation despite both team's struggles on the court.