At this point, anytime somebody tells Phil Jackson they “just want to think about it over the weekend” he should assume the deal is dead and move on to whatever is next.
It happened to him when discussing returning to the Los Angeles Lakers as coach this year.
And now it happened with UCLA.
Once UCLA failed to land Virginia Commonwealth Coach Shaka Smart and Butler’s Brad Stevens, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero talked to Phil Jackson’s representative. Guerrero didn’t want Jackson as coach, but rather to have him lead the search for a new UCLA basketball coach. Jackson was agreeable.
Guerrero talked to Jackson’s agent about having a news conference to announce Jackson was onboard. Jackson’s agent told Guerrero what it would cost to hire him as consultant. As part of the discussion, UCLA hoped to count on Jackson meeting with recruits later to help the new coach in his work.
Guerrero told Jackson’s agent he would take the holiday weekend before putting the deal together.
Then Guerrero went and hired Steve Alford — a good coach, but whether he is good enough for one of the hottest chairs in college basketball is another question. Which sounds a lot like what Jim Buss and the Lakers did. It’s an L.A. thing.
People, if you’re going to reach out Phil Jackson as a coach or consultant, know a couple things:
1) He doesn’t come cheap. Phil has earned the right to charge a whole lot of money for his services so if you want him to come in and tell you to hire Brian Shaw as a coach it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. And maybe another arm.
2) He likes to think about things then act. In this case it was UCLA’s Guerrero that asked for time so he could move on, but Jackson is deliberate in his actions — with his team and in making decisions for himself. Just ask Jeannie Buss about how long it took to get a ring on her finger. Don’t expect him to just jump in go without considering the situation fully.