Tag: Rudy Tomjanovich


Could Rudy Tomjanovich be Mike Brown’s stats consultant?

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Rudy Tomjanovich served as the Lakers’ replacement head coach the last time Phil Jackson took his leave from the game, but Rudy T likely won’t be around to see the beginning of L.A.’s second post-Phil era. According to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, Tomjanovich — who had been retained by the Lakers in a consulting role since he stepped down as head coach in 2005 — is a Lakers employee no more.

It’s not uncommon to see experienced NBA head coaches serve as consultants if their coaching contracts come to a premature conclusion, so the fact that Tomjanovich remained with the Lakers up to this point is hardly shocking. The roles of these coach consultants vary from franchise to franchise, but responsibilities ranging from scouting to personnel advisement can be included under their jurisdiction, while others are “consultants” in name only.

Tomjanovich’s role, however, appears to have been pretty unique according to Ding’s report, and it’s that quality that could potentially bring Tomjanovich back to the Lakers under Mike Brown:

It remains possible Tomjanovich could remain in touch in a distant, different way, as he and son Trey recently made a presentation to Mike Brown’s new Lakers coaching staff about hiring them for their basketball statistical program. Trey Tomjanovich has provided software to the Lakers before, and his father’s reports to Jackson’s staff became increasingly stats-based.

Plenty of NBA teams have consultants who specialize in quantitative work, but I’d wager that few of those consultants — if any — are storied NBA coaches in their own right. It’s still too early to know whether Tomjanovich’s interest in working with Mike Brown is reciprocated, but if nothing Tomjanovich serves as an interesting example of an old school coach turned new school analyst.

Phil Jackson jokes around about Rudy Tomjanovich, gets taken seriously

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When the Lakers are struggling — for example, losing four in a row like they have now — Phil Jackson usually tries to lighten the mood at his press conferences.

Joking, funny Phil Jackson, who sounds a lot like regular Phil Jackson so unless you’re around him a lot it can be hard to tell. Wednesday it was comedian Jackson talking to the media after the game.

The Orange County Register’s Kevin Ding got the distinction and tried to play it up in his story.

Asked about Rudy Tomjanovich’s chances of making the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Jackson smiled and said he was supportive of everyone, including his former colleague Kevin Loughery, who despite being such a “loser” in his coaching record was just a great guy.

Asked if Tomjanovich’s two titles as Rockets coach should have asterisks next to them because they came with Michael Jordan away from Jackson’s Chicago Bulls, Jackson smiled and said: “Definitely! No doubt about it!”

But if you are not used to being around Jackson and don’t get his tone and humor, or you just read the words Jackson said, not listening to the audio, you get the impression Jackson was smacking around Rudy T., a former Lakers coach and current scout. That seems to have made the rounds. But this comes off to those around him more like Jackson’s sense of humor, albeit he was a bit cranky that day.

So everyone — chill out. It’s Friday, let it go and head to happy hour a little earlier.

Jeanie Buss: "Phil will be coaching next year, somewhere"


Thumbnail image for Jackson_Bryant.jpgForget The Real Housewives of Orange County. Heck, forget the South Fork Ranch and Dallas. The Buss family soap opera is far more delicious and entertaining.

In our latest episode, Jeanie Buss — the daughter with the business mind and the posed-for-Playboy body, who is dating the head coach of daddy’s franchise — told ESPNLosAngeles that Phil Jackson is going to coach next season.

Whether that’s with the Lakers….

“I know Phil will be coaching next year, somewhere. Whether it’s here or someplace else I don’t know,” Buss said. “There’s going to be a lot of good jobs that come up this summer…”

“I know that he can’t just retire,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Honey, what are you going to do? Are you going to help your kids go change diapers and stuff?'”

It’s another preemptive strike from the Jeanie/Phil side of the Lakers power structure, aimed at father Jerry Buss and his son Jim — the appointed heir to the big seat. And the Buss child who has his father’s ear. With this statement, Jeanie and Phil are trying to win over pubic sympathies and put pressure on the family patriarch and Lakers owner to bring Phil Jackson back.

Why wouldn’t he bring back arguably the greatest NBA coach ever? Well, I can give you 12 million reasons.

“I think if they win it’s like a no-brainer he’ll come back because he’ll want to win three in a row,” Jeanie Buss said. “But [if they don’t win], if there isn’t that connection, he would understand.

“Plus, my dad has made it very clear he doesn’t want to pay him what he’s been paying him. So that’s kind of hard, too. You could kind of say, in some jobs, well I’m cutting back your hours. But can you see him cutting back his hours?”

Both Jerry Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak have said Jackson would be welcomed back, but that discussions were on hold until the playoffs were over.

It was Jeanie that brokered Jackson’s return to the Lakers, after he had left and Jim helped select Rudy Tomjanovich to take over. That proved to be a disaster that threatened the financial structure of the Lakers empire, not just making them look bad on the court. Bringing back Jackson mollified angry season ticket holders, but it came with a price tag of $10 million a year. Since then that price has gone up (inflation, you know). But to let a proven winner like Jackson go in the middle of a championship window risks angering fans again. Who are you going to get that’s better?

It’s a family power struggle well suited to a mid-80s soap opera like Dallas. Then again maybe not, it is Los Angeles. Unfortunately for Lakers fans, Patrick Duffy is not going to appear in the shower and say this was all just a dream. This is the Lakers reality.