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.
Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas undergoes surgery on dislocated thumb, out a month
It was clear it was bad when it happened. Not because of the violence of the play by Draymond Green — no foul was called, and the hand is part of the ball by rule in these cases — but because of Jonas Valanciunas‘ reaction. The man was in a lot of pain.
With 8 minutes to go in the second quarter of the Raptors win Wednesday night, Valanciunas got the ball with Green on him and decided to back down the smaller player, Green reached in and swiped down knocking the ball away but getting Valanciunas’ hand in the process.
Thursday the Raptors announced that Valanciunas had surgery on his dislocated left thumb and will be out at least a month.
This is a blow to the Raptors’ frontline depth, although they still have plenty of talent up front. Serge Ibaka starts most nights at center, and at times the Raptors go small and put breakout player Pascal Siakam at the five. However, Valanciunas is their matchup for other bigger, more traditional centers, or sometimes coach Nick Nurse tries him to force a mismatch. Valanciunas is averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds a night playing nearly 19 minutes a night, the Raptors defense is 3 points per 100 possessions better, and the Raptors outscore opponents by 5.4 per 100 when he is on the court. It will not be easy to fill his minutes.
The Raptors are 23-7 and the team in first place in the East having just knocked off the Clippers and Warriors in back-to-back nights on the road. They look like contenders, but they could use Valanciunas to help them get through the regular season (he’s harder to play in the postseason, but we’re not there yet).
Hornets owner Michael Jordan: Smacking Malik Monk was ‘tap of endearment’
Hornets owner Michael Jordan smacked guard Malik Monk on the back head of the head, because Monk prematurely ran on the court to celebrate Jeremy Lamb‘s game-winner against the Pistons last night. Charlotte received a technical foul for having too many men on the court, but held on for the victory.
But LeBron reportedly previously said he didn’t like Houston as a city, and at this point, it’s impossible escape lifestyle as a key consideration for the superstar. He clearly enjoys Los Angeles.
I doubt LeBron regrets dropping the Rockets from consideration early. The main appeal would have been their direction path to championship contention, but they’ve been the NBA’s most disappointing team this season.
Which makes it even easier for LeBron to dismiss his Houston consideration.
2018 NBA playoff teams get new alternate jerseys (photos)
Did your favorite team or player make the playoffs last season?
Well, someone thinks that might have you invested enough to buy yet another jersey.
Aaron Dodson of The Undefeated:
Nike announces new "Earned Edition" uniforms for all 16 teams that made the 2017-18 playoffs. Available Dec. 19 in limited quantities before debuting on Christmas Day. No limit to how many times teams can wear them.