Tag: Phil Jackson

Lakers v Nets

Kobe says even 2004 title could not have kept Shaq/Kobe Lakers together


It was the conventional wisdom at the time that if the Lakers had won the 2004 NBA title — they lost in the finals to the Detroit Pistons and their stifling defense — that Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal would have stuck it out together to chase more titles. The “winning cures all ills” theory.

Kobe says not so fast.

Speaking with Yahoo’s Graham Bensinger in a must-watch interview for Kobe fans, the star said it was over when he heard chatter out of Shaq’s camp that Kobe couldn’t win without Shaq.

“It just wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t in the cards,” Bryant said. “There’s things that I wanted to do with my career and take my career to another level, that I was just incapable of doing as long as we were playing together….

“It just wasn’t going to work, so no matter what happened, even if we had won that championship, me being a free agent, there was just no way.”

Kobe took — and in some quarters still takes — some grief for breaking up those Lakers. But the fact is what Kobe did because he had the hammer of free agency was exactly what Shaq would have done if he had that hammer. They were done with it. Phil Jackson couldn’t keep them together. So Buss made the only logical choice and traded Shaq, convincing Kobe to re-sign. You always choose the younger player with the better work ethic and who took better physical care of himself.

Kobe also sounded sympathetic to the place Jackson was in with that three-peat team.

“The relationship between me and Shaq,” Kobe said. “Him having to deal with that relationship and kind of keeping me at arm’s distance so that, in turn, it can bring him closer to Shaq. And he was dealing with a young racehorse that wanted to get to an elite level very fast… we all three are very stubborn. “”

Kobe said his relationship with Jackson needed to be repaired when Phil came back to the Lakers. It was a matter of communication styles.

“I said, ‘Phil, if you want me to do something, just tell me.’” Kobe said. “He kind of likes subtly slipping messages in there. Where, for me, it’s like just tell me what it is you want. Don’t insult my intelligence by trying to backdoor in there.”

Report: Thunder and Brooks closing in on new deal

Scott Brooks

You should not be surprised by this.

ESPN reports that the Oklahoma City Thunder are “closing in” on a new deal with head coach Scott Brooks:

Sources told ESPN.com on Friday night that Brooks and the Thunder, after slow-moving talks that had left the sides well apart by the end of the NBA Finals earlier this month, soon will finalize a new four-year deal to follow up the contract that expires Saturday.

Although the financial specifics were not yet known, ESPN.com reported last week that the Thunder’s most recent offer was “north of $4 million” annually.

“They are getting close,” one source briefed on the discussions said.

via Oklahoma City Thunder, coach Scott Brooks close to new contract, sources say – ESPN.

So, no, Phil Jackson will not be enjoying the Sooner State’s sights and sounds any time soon.

The Thunder were not going to let the coach that lead them to the Finals get away, no matter their resistance to overpaying for him. Brooks comes with questions, that can’t be denied. Tactically, there are issues, but at the same time, Brooks has overseen the development of two All-Stars, the Sixth Man of the Year, and the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up. It’s just too absurd to think that they would allow him to walk away.

In the end, the Thunder will wind up caving on both the number of years and the amount per year. That was always going to happen. This isn’t new stuff. Coaches, particularly, younger ones, have a hard time getting the mega-deals. But OKC wasn’t going to go in another direction, wasn’t going to risk upsetting the good thing they have going.

Brooks will be back in OKC, and the process will continue. And so will people questioning whether he’s the guy to get it done.

Thunder GM calls idea of Jackson, Van Gundy as coach “rubbish”

Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat - Game Four

When we told you this rumor was out there — that Phil Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy were on the list as potential coaches of the Thunder if Scott Brooks wasn’t brought back — we told you to take it with a grain of salt. Or, actually an entire box of kosher salt (we only use the good stuff).

Now comes this from Thunder general manager Sam Presti, speaking to the Associated Press.

“To me, it’s rubbish,” Presti said Sunday when asked about an ESPN report that Jackson and Van Gundy were being considered as options if Brooks couldn’t be re-signed….

“Scotty is an integral part of our organization and critical to our success,” Presti said. “We value him greatly and we’re looking forward to having those (contract) conversations, as he said, in the coming days. He’s been integral to our success. We wouldn’t be the situation that we’re in without him and his commitment to our organization and our players.”

First off, “rubbish” is a great word. We should all use it more in our daily lives.

This always sounded like a leak to try and put some pressure on the Brooks camp more than reality.

Jackson was never going to happen. Not in this organization. Here’s the thing, Phil Jackson doesn’t just come in and coach, he takes over the entire organization — he is the mouthpiece of the franchise, you need to bring in players that fit his system, he changes the entire dynamic. The Thunder don’t need a new dynamic — they just reached the finals with a team core that is 23. You listen to the Heat players after their finals win and to a man they said they thought if they meet the Thunder in the finals next year or in two years they will be much, much harder to beat. This is a growing team on a good path. You bring in Jackson you change everything — yes, he has a track record of winning, but why change what is already working?

Jeff Van Gundy is a big name, he would help the Thunder defense, but he is also very, very expensive (as is Jackson.).

The Thunder players believe in Brooks. The Thunder players play hard for him every game. And while he seemed unsure of how to counter the Heat with lineup adjustments in the finals, in the round before he made the adjustments that beat Gregg Popovich. Again, this is not the time to make the change.

Brooks and the Thunder will get a deal done. He will be back next year. Everything else you hear is negotiations.