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SBD/November 13, 2012/Franchises
Lakers Hire D'Antoni With "Immediate Future" In Mind; Agent Says Jackson Made No Demands
Published November 13, 2012
IN HIGH DEMAND: Jackson’s agent, Todd Musburger, said that he “felt Jackson's reported demands -- including a salary in line with his previous Lakers contracts, more say over personnel decisions and the ability to skip some road games -- had been leaked to the media by the Lakers or D'Antoni's representative.” Musburger said, "There were no demands, outrageous or otherwise. To say that he wanted control or that he wanted a zillion dollars or that he wanted equity, those were not topics discussed in the meeting between [GM Mitch] Kupchak, Buss and Phil” (ESPN.com, 11/12). NBA.com’s David Aldridge wrote the “sudden change in direction” from Jackson to D’Antoni does “reinforce an immutable fact of life in the Time of Buss: no one's bigger than the franchise.” As much as Jerry Buss “wants to win, he will only bend so much.” Aldridge: “We will never know, I suspect, exactly what Jackson was asking for, since it's in neither party's interest to disclose exactly what was on the table, the better for both sides to be able to claim they were the one who walked away. But whether it was money, title, authority, ownership or some combination of all of those, things fell apart quickly Sunday night, leaving Jim Buss, the executive vice president who'd hired Brown, still in charge of basketball operations” (NBA.com, 11/12).
CROSS PURPOSES: In California, Kevin Ding writes there were “indications that Jim Buss was on guard going into this coaching interview, leery of Jackson snubbing him if Buss reached out.” So “maybe the Lakers went into this process planning a token gesture toward Jackson that they could present to the fans.” The “sordid maybe is that Jim Buss wanted to pull the rug out from under Jackson for all his previous airing of superiority -- no matter how that would hurt Lakers fans and especially devastate Jim's sister Jeanie, Jackson's longtime girlfriend.” Ding: “Even if all the stories don't fit together straight, there is a rational explanation for everyone to make peace with the Lakers not getting Jackson back. They just didn't want him back” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/13). YAHOO SPORTS’ Adrian Wojnarowski wrote Jackson “wanted to humiliate Lakers vice president Jim Buss far more than he wanted to coach the team.” Jackson “had his chance, and the strangest thing happened: The greatest coach in history overreached, misread the circumstances and had someone tell him ‘no’ on Sunday night.” The Lakers are now “going out of their way to spare Jackson the embarrassment of his overreaching” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/12).