Phil Jackson was so close to returning to the NBA sidelines just nine months ago, but of course, his return never came to fruition. Phil has said himself that he now doesn’t think he’ll ever coach again, yet his longtime partner thinks differently.
Last week, Jeanie Buss told ESPN Los Angeles radio that she believes Phil isn’t done coaching:
John Ireland: Do you think Phil’s coached his last game?
Jeanie Buss: No.
Ireland: Neither do I. I think it’s in his blood. Do you agree?
Buss: Yeah, you should see him coach his eight grandkids. It doesn’t really work so well ‘cus they’re young and don’t really want to listen to him, so he’s got that need where he’s gotta coach something.
I don’t know how things are gonna turn out, I just don’t feel like he’s done contributing yet. I think he’s got a lot to give.
[But for him to return] the culture [and situation] has to be right.
It’s really no surprise to hear that Jeanie believes her fiancé can still coach, after all, Jeanie was a big reason that Phil was so serious about returning to the Lakers last year.
It would be great to see Phil come back to the league and coach again, yet it would feel strange for him to coach a team other than the Lakers at this point: he has such strong ties to the purple and gold now.
Phil has turned down a number of opportunities over the last few months – reportedly including coaching gigs – as he’s waiting for the right situation and possible a Pat Riley-type role.
However, could Phil return to the Lakers in 2014 and coach the team once again, possibly also luring the likes of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to town with him? We’ll just have to wait and see…