Deal reportedly is for two years, at least $16 million
LOS ANGELES -- Coach Phil Jackson and the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to complete a two-year contract extension worth perhaps $16 million, before bonuses, in the coming week, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
Jackson's initial five-year, $30 million contract runs out after this season. Jackson, after resting for much of the summer at his home in Montana, returned to Los Angeles a week ago with the intention of lengthening his stay with the Lakers, according to the Times.
Team owner Jerry Buss, who is expected to return from his summer-long stay in Europe on Tuesday, and Jackson probably will meet again next week and may complete the deal then, the paper reported.
Asked about the likelihood of a new deal, Jackson's agent, Todd Musburger, said: "I think that would be the aim of all concerned. It obviously has been a very productive and meaningful association and something we believe both sides would benefit from if it is extended."
Musburger -- speaking Friday from his Chicago office -- wouldn't confirm those terms, calling the report "speculative."
The agent said that no talks have been scheduled but that he will do so when something can be arranged.
"When we have information on Phil's contract status, we will discuss it at the appropriate time," Lakers spokesman John Black said.
Musburger did say that Jackson mentioned the possibility of extending his contract for two years when people asked him about it last season.
After winning three NBA titles his first three years, Jackson survived a rough 2002-03 campaign that included the Lakers' being dethroned and numerous personal health issues. He had a kidney stone removed in February and underwent an angioplasty May 10.
Musburger said Jackson is doing well now.
"He's actually feeling splendid; he's in great shape," Musburger said. "He's had a restful and really solid period of the kind of exercise and regimen that the doctors were hoping he could attain.
"Part of the reason for his good health is we've been able to keep the media away from him," Musburger added with a laugh.
Despite the cast of future Hall of Famers on the roster, Jackson faces a challenging season ahead. The Western Conference is loaded with high-quality opposition and the Lakers are still waiting to see how the Kobe Bryant legal situation will pan out.
Asked Thursday whether he could make contingency plans to protect the team against Bryant's schedule -- speculation has Bryant's trial starting anywhere from March to July -- Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told the Times that he had simply assembled the roster the best he could.
"Going into every season, we like to have what we consider to be sufficient depth at every position for various reasons," he said. "We feel we have a good balance to our roster."
Jackson's extension could help stabilize the franchise with a roster that could turn over substantially after the season, beginning with Bryant, Payton and Malone. Before his arrest, Bryant had said he would opt out of his contract after the 2003-04 season and try free agency. Payton and Malone signed two-year contracts but each can leave after one year, at his option.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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