Phil Jackson is one of the greatest coaches in NBA history. He has eleven rings to show for his time on the pine, five of which he won with the L.A. Lakers.
These days, Big Phil is the president of the New York Knicks and things haven't been going as swimmingly as his coaching days thus far. Two years into his new endeavour and the Knicks have only amassed 48 wins along the way.
However, with Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks have the raw materials of what could be a good side if they make the right moves in free agency.
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To call them impending contenders would perhaps be a stretch too far, though. The 70-year-old Jackson is engaged to Los Angeles Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss and there has been plenty of speculation that he may well abandon ship in the Big Apple and head west to more convenient, family surroundings.
With the Lakers also floundering over the past few years, now it would make more sense than ever for a reunion with Jackson. However, that's not the case according to Buss when she was asked if her fiancee might return.
"No. To visit, yes ... but in terms of basketball, he's committed to New York for many years," Buss said Monday on ESPN Radio's Beadle and Shelburne Show. "He's building something there. He has a mission, he's on that journey to get the team back to where he believes it can be and it will be. He's a former Knick ... he loves New York, he loves the fans, he wants to make them proud.
"In terms of the Lakers, we have a front office. They're putting together a team ... they have a vision. I'm excited to see what the future holds for us. So, to answer your question ... no, there's no plans for Phil to come back here."
Jeanie's brother, Jim Buss, is a part-owner and executive vice president of basketball operations for the Purple and Gold and has been very clear about his expectations for himself.
If the Lakers cannot return to contention within the next two to three years, he will step aside and leave the role in more competent hands. This, coupled with the fact Jackson has an opt-out clause after the 2016-17 season, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard, is the primary source of the speculation.
However, Jeanie Buss thinks her brother's comments are strictly business.
"We talked about it as a family," Jeanie Buss said Monday of Jim Buss' stance. "My brother spoke about it publicly. It is something that I think he's very sincere in when he says that if he can't get this team to where we're competitive, being in the playoffs, second round, competing for the Western Conference final.
"He would feel that he isn't living up to the job that my father left to him, and he [Jim] made it clear if he couldn't do the job that he would step aside and make sure that somebody would come in and do that because that's how much he loves the Lakers. That's how much my family loves the Lakers."