Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson: Lakers are ‘a mess’


The Lakers are an old team that barely made the playoffs and has significant financial obligations going forward. Dwight Howard’s free agency looms, as does a big luxury-tax bill.

Phil Jackson is trying to sell books, and he has a complicated, at best, relationship with the Lakers. He also has never shied away from sharing his thoughts publically, anyway.

Add it all up, and Jackson will poke the bear.

Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:

Naturally, he talks to his fiancee, Jeanie Buss, who is an executive and owner with the team.

“I’m trying to counsel her on ways the team can improve,” he said.  “They’re a mess, we know that because of their financial disorder right now, that’s the thing they have to get straight right away.”

The Lakers are a mess. It sounds a little strange to hear coming from Jackson after he helped them achieve so much, but there’s little evidence to the contrary.

Of course, the Lakers have often found themselves in messes and dug their way out of them. At one point, it seemed the feuding between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant would become the Lakers’ undoing. But Shaq went to Miami, Kobe learned how to play without him, and Los Angeles won a couple titles.

The Lakers could re-sign Dwight Howard, trade Pau Gasol, allow Kobe time to heal and suddenly look to be out of this mess. 

They might even turn to the man who got them out of their 1990s mess of underachieving.

OK, maybe this mess doesn’t have that solution.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.