One factor that makes any rumor of Phil Jackson potentially leaving the Lakers next season more interesting is Jackson’s relationship with long-time girlfriend Jeanie Buss, the Executive Vice President of the Lakers and the daughter of legendary Lakers owner Jerry Buss. According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Jackson’s relationship with Buss was the reason that he did not accept the Knicks’ offer to coach the team in 2005.
“I don’t know how things will work out,” Buss wrote. “I am hoping the Lakers win and everything stays status quo, but the one thing I do know is that I am not going to stand in Phil’s way if he wants to go to another team…I don’t control him — if I did I would have a ring on my finger, but I am not going to threaten to break up with him if he takes another job.Our relationship is solid no matter where he works. There are plenty examples of wives that don’t move to the city their spouse is coaching. I hear [Celtics coach] Doc Rivers’s family is still in Orlando. So that will not make a difference.”
You have to love Phil Jackson. With the biggest free-agency summer in history looming and the finals days away, Phil has managed to drum up boatloads of interest in where he’ll be coaching next season, just by saying he’s only 90% sure that he wouldn’t coach another team next year. It’s good that Buss is confident enough in her relationship with Jackson to let him coach another team if he really wants to, but I can’t help but feel it will end up being a moot point.