Phil Jackson admits he will take a pay cut if he returns


Phil Jackson may or may not come back as the Lakers coach — but if he does it will not be at the $12 million salary he made this season.

“Yes, it has been indicated there will be a pay cut,” Jackson said before Game 2 of the Lakers/Suns Western Conference Finals.

Thumbnail image for pjackson.jpgESPN’s Michael Wilbon went on his PTI buddy Tony Kornheiser’s radio show today and said that he was told the cut will be all the way down to $5 million next season. Jackson dodged all talk of specific numbers.

“It’s still a ridiculous salary whatever it is,” Jackson said almost under his breath.

Jackson has hinted before that he expected a pay cut to be needed, but questioned whether he would take it, at one point asking a reporter, “would you?” But it is less about money — he has more than enough — and ultimately about whether or not he is enjoying himself. Whether he can physically put up with the rigors of a long season of travel again, and whether he wants to.

Jackson indicates he has not decided if he will return next year, saying Monday he is not leaning either way at this time. As was discussed earlier today, he is comfortable in Los Angeles and he is almost certain to stay here or retire. Most people close to Jackson think he will return.

But predicting Jackson is a foolish enterprise. All we know for sure is he will not be making $12 million next year.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.