After the shock of the Mike Brown firing five games into the season wore off, many believed that the return of the Zen master, Phil Jackson, was to return to Laker-land. With Kobe’s blessing, it seemed inevitable that the 11 time championship coach was going to return to his high chair on the Lakers bench. Phil, then publicly acknowledged that he had the desire to coach another star-studded Lakers squad, with Phil, Dwight and Nash the Miami Heat may finally have been out gunned.

Of course, this was not L.A.’s first time negotiating with Jackson, the Buss family knew that achieving inner peace for their basketball squad was going to come at a huge financial price (Phil was there when Jordan negotiated those huge 30 mil pay days in Chicago and was prepared to rip a page right out of that book). This year’s negotiation came with a new wrinkle, ownership. Jackson demanding a small part of the team this round, was a lot different from the usual throwing money at the problem that saved them before.

Many people don’t know that the Buss family does not own the Lakers out=right like the Steinbrenner’s own the Yankee’s or Kroenke’s (Avalanche, Nuggets, and St. Rams). The Buss’s sold I believe up to 1/3rd to AEG (which owns the Staples center, and currently up for sale if you gotta a couple of billion burning holes in your pockets) and Magic Johnson’s former 4.5% ownership to Los Angeles Businessman Patrick Soon-Shiog. AEG’s pending sale would not put them in a position to relinquish any ownership as it would affect the future sales price. After Mr. Soon-Shiog pay’d millions for his shares he’s probably looking to buy or maintain rather then sell back ownership.

For argument’s sake, let’s say the Buss’s were crazy enough to give up even more ownership for a one year band-aid coach. Your stuck with Jackson after he finally does stop coaching , which in turn leads us to Brian Shaw. Shaw, as everyone knows is Jackson’s guy and after being pass-over the time for Mike Brown (prob have to buy out Shaw from the Pacers) with Jackson’s new ownership stake can ensure that the succession plan was implemented this time around. If the Lakers passed on Shaw again they would have one angry owner on their hands. If you have ever owned anything in partnership, the last thing you need is the guy with the smallest stake making the biggest noise. That, plus Phil using his influence on the next owner of AEG to put the screws to the Buss family, may have Hollywood’s first family on the outside looking in.

There’s also the possibility after a tough negotiation, Phil would have changed his mind and left Lakers management with their pants down. For ownership to plop down say, 8-10 million, for a coach who’s not running practices while implementing a new system with questionable motivation is reason enough to run for the hills (of Beverly, R.I.P Chris Farley).

The 2012 Lakers goal besides winning the title, is to keep the bi-polar Dwight Howard happy long enough to resign. It’s quiet possible with all the time Lakers management and Kobe have spent with Howard may feel he would not benefit the way Shaq would from the Triangle or lacks the basketball IQ to survive in it. The nightmare scenario being: Phil screaming at Howard for always being in the wrong place all the time, fills Howard’s head with zen mumbo-jumbo, which really confuses him, Phil destroys his confidence a la Pau in ’10 playoffs. Dwight signs with Atlanta looking to get as far away from Phil and Kobe as possible, completing Bill Simmons’ ultimate wet dream.

Which brings us to Mike D’Antoni. Seven seconds or less Mike. While D’Antoni was sitting in the hospital, getting more work done than a “Real Housewife” (what else you going to do with the Jimmy Dolan divorce money) looked at the roster that’s very similar to his best Suns teams, waited for the morphine to wear off and signed the first thing thru the fax. Having Steve Nash man the point, Kobe is still better now than Joe Johnson was in his prime, World Peace and Marion are a wash, Dwight playing the Amar’e role. Not even including Pau, it’s the best squad he’s coached hands down. The whole process of signing probably took two phone calls and a fax. Lakers sign a coach with the future on mind without giving up valuable TV and sponsorship money.

D’Antoni has the least complicated system (or none, depending on who you ask) in the NBA. He get’s Nash helping teammates run the offense and where to be on the court (just judging by TV interviews and what-not, this would go 100 times smoother than the tyrannical Kobe led practices with Brian Shaw at the helm). Again keeping Dwight happy. With the ball in Nash’s hands will lead to more pick and roll opportunities (Dwight happy :>;;) while taking the ball out of the moody Kobe’s hands in the Triangle.

Bringing back Phil Jackson is the clear basketball decision, the Buss’s had to think business first here, maintaining control the team being the first priority. D’Antoni increases the chances of resigning Howard and if need be can axed as quick as Mike Brown was without upsetting the fan base.

Advertisements