Lakers coach says he, Kobe both want title-worthy team
"Kobe and I are very much in collusion in that we want to have an opportunity and we want this team to have an opportunity to succeed," said Jackson, inducted Friday night into the Basketball Hall of Fame. "And one of Kobe's complaints is to improve the talent and give him the teammates he can compete with. I'm in collusion with him on that.
"We've made some changes this summer. I think we still have to make changes to help us out."
Bryant criticized the Lakers' front office last May and asked for a trade. He later appeared to soften his stance, but hasn't addressed the issue much lately, so it's unclear if the two-time scoring champion still wants to leave the only NBA team he has played for.
The Lakers haven't won a playoff series since 2004, when they appeared in the NBA finals for the fourth time in five years. They were 42-40 last season to finish seventh in the Western Conference, and lost to Phoenix in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year.
Before leaving Los Angeles for the induction ceremony, Jackson told radio station KLAC he felt misled by a member of the Buss family.
"We were promised by Jim Buss we'd have big changes. We've yet to see that," Jackson said. "We're still looking for that. And we still are looking for that big boost in our team. So we hope we still have one more [move] in us to include a player that really can play ... the kind of role that you have to have to win in this game, someone who can [score] and play defense and do the things on the floor to help us win."
Buss, a vice president, is the son of Jerry Buss, who has owned the team since 1979. The Lakers have won eight championships since that time.
Jackson, who turns 62 later this month, denied a report that he was considering retirement. He has one year remaining on the three-year, $30 million contract he signed in 2005.
"I have an outstanding offer to return," he said. "I'm going to see where my health holds up and that's basically where I'm at. It's important for me to be active."
Jackson underwent his second hip replacement surgery in June.
While the Lakers expect Bryant to join them Oct. 1 when they travel to Hawaii for the start of training camp, he hasn't been clear with his plans.
"There's some recoup that has to be done between Kobe and his teammates," Jackson said. "When he gets back from Asia, hopefully they'll sit down together and talk about that."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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