Los Angeles Lakers executive vice president of business operations Jeanie Buss responded Wednesday to reports speculating family infighting could prevent the return of head coach Phil Jackson after this season, calling them inaccurate.
Speaking to ESPN Los Angeles.com during a podcast interview, she suggested older narratives written during and after Jackson's contentious departure from the Lakers following the 2004 NBA Finals are being inappropriately resurrected.
"Phil, I don't think was ready to leave, I wasn't ready for him to go. There was some tension that is now being repeated in the media," she said. "It's convenient to bring all that up again because Phil is in his last year of his contract and it's almost like déjà vu, but it's nowhere near the same situation. I think that while there was some tension back in 2005, there isn't that tension that exists today."
Roland Lazenby authored a book about Jackson, "Mind Games: Phil Jackson's Long Strange Journey." Recently, Lazenby suggested at HoopsHype.com, that tension amongst Buss family members might prevent Jackson from returning for the 2011 season.
While not addressing Jackson's contract specifically, assuming history will repeat itself would be a mistake, Buss said.
"Phil got to come back and on completely different terms than when he left. That was an interesting part of the drama, and so I can see where it's convenient to bring that up again."
Brian Kamenetzky is the author of the Land O' Lakers blog on ESPNLosAngeles.com