There is a scenario in which former Lakers coach Phil Jackson would consider returning for a third stint with the team, sources said late Friday, but it will require executive VP Jim Buss once again relinquishing the organizational reins and this time handing them to Jackson, rather than back to GM Mitch Kupchak.One source described the possibility of Jackson returning, should a suitable offer be made, as strong.The Lakers are in need of a new head coach after firing Mike Brown Friday morning, the timing of which, if not the decision itself, completely blindsided Brown, a source said. The abruptness and timing of the decision five games into Browns first full season was credited by one source to Lakers legend and former part-owner Magic Johnson finally winning a turf war with the younger Buss and convincing Lakers patriarch, Jerry Buss, that Brown must go. Johnson, the source said, would like to see former Laker and current Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw succeed Brown.Johnson, an ESPN and ABC analyst, has been repeatedly critical of Brown and last year announced that Brown would be fired if the Lakers failed to get past the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers won the best-of-seven series, 4-3, before losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the next round, 4-1, but Kupchak dismissed any validity to Johnsons remarks.A source close to Johnson, meanwhile, said talk of him being involved in Browns ouster now was categorically untrue.Jackson, while romantically involved with Lakers executive Jeanie Buss, has long had a strained relationship with her brother Jim. When Jacksons last contract with the team expired following the 2010-11 season, Jim was granted authority over the teams basketball operations by his father, Jerry, and seemed committed to shifting away from the teams methodology under Jackson, including his Triangle offense.That offense almost assuredly would return if Jackson were granted authority andor Shaw, a long-time assistant coach of Jackson during his Lakers tenure, were hired. Sources say there is a scenario in which both Jackson and Shaw would be hired, with Shaw as the head coach mentored by Jackson.Jackson proposed a similar arrangement to the Portland Trail Blazers at one point last summer, sources say, with former assistant Kurt Rambis as his head-coach proteg and Jackson overseeing basketball operations, but the Blazers declined.Former Knicks coach Mike DAntoni, former Blazers coach Nate McMillan and Mike Dunleavy, who has coached both the Lakers and Clippers, are among the Lakers list of candidates, a source said. DAntoni just had knee replacement surgery last week and the recovery time has been projected as six weeks, but a source close to DAntoni said that an accelerated rehabilitation program could potentially cut that time in half.DAntoni, of course, would be reunited with point guard Steve Nash, who became a two-time league MVP with the Phoenix Suns in DAntonis up-tempo system and Nash, a source said, would welcome playing for him again.The challenge in returning to Jacksons Triangle offense is that it would not suit Nash nearly as well as DAntonis pick-and-roll heavy system and it often takes a full season for a team to master it. Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Steve Blake, Metta World Peace and Devin Ebanks are the only hold-overs from the last time Jackson coached the team, and neither Blake nor Peace were particularly effective in it.
Despite the planetary systems of evidence to the contrary, sometimes a sports owner understands the duties and responsibilities of the job and foolishly (read: admirably) acts in accordance with them.
In other words, there are more than a hundred owners across North America looking at Gail Miller and wondering if she is (a) nuts, (b) dangerous, (c) evil, or (d) all the above, with oak leaf clusters.
Gail Miller owns the Utah Jazz, having taken the basketball team over upon the death of her husband Larry in 2009, and will do so until she turns it over to a legacy trust of family members who will be required by contract to reinvest any and all profits generated by the NBA franchise back into the care and upkeep of the team (h/t Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune).
That is, as opposed to turning the profits into a bank for the family, or a way to get rich before selling the franchise to someone who moves it to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland or Zagreb.
In other words, she has set up a system by which the team will almost surely stay in Salt Lake City for decades to come, as opposed to playing arena blackmail, city blackmail or other kinds of popular ownerly games. No whining, no sniveling, no milking the citizens without their consent – why, by modern ownership standards, this is a scandal.
All because of an antiquated notion she clings to despite all rationality – the right thing to do.
Compare and contrast the events in our own local burgs, and shake your head in admiration.
In fairness, there are tax advantages for her and her family in doing this, and the bar for decency is so low that getting tax breaks for not doing something despicable seems like an entirely equitable deal.
Nevertheless, her decision to keep the team (a) in the family and (b) in the city where they reside is such a stunning development that it took more than a year of fevered negotiations with the NBA to make sure that what she chose to do would meet with the league’s approval.
“We worked with the NBA for probably more than 12 months trying to put together a package that satisfied the NBA's needs for financial covenants, eventual opportunities for participation in management and the governance,” team president Dennis Haslam said. “It took a long time, but we got there.”
Larry and Gail Miller bought the Jazz for $22 million 30 years ago, which are currently valued at a hair beneath $900 million. In other words, the family has done reasonably well by the city, and the city by the family. And the annual profits are more than sufficient to keep everyone living in spectacular comfort.
But what she has done is introduce a foreign concept to modern wealth. Enough money for everyone.
“The Jazz are not our family's team,” son Steve Miller kind of fibbed, because it remains the family’s team. “They are a community asset. They are the Utah Jazz.”
Even allowing for the discordant nickname that has endured for those 30 years, again despite all logic, the Jazz have finally explained what the relationship between a team and its town ought to be, and almost never is. Owners long ago decided that their teams were theirs and only theirs, and the fans to whom they pay lip service in exchange for all the money their fans pay them have come to know that love unrequited is just a scam with free T-shirts.
The people of St. Louis, San Diego, Oakland and whoever is next in the discard bin have discovered that loving a team is typically an act of misplaced faith.
But Salt Lake City got the right owner, one who knows what the true debt really is, and how best to repay it. Gail Miller is not a hero, but she is someone who gets how sports is supposed to work, which is frankly a much rarer thing than mere heroism.
If she drinks, she’s earned one – even if all she did was momentarily shame her financial compatriots by showing the kind of loyalty that usually ends up only going the other way.
Golden State Warriors head coach, along with the rest of his staff, will coach the Western Conference in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans, on Feb. 19. Kerr's staff will include Ron Adams, Mike Brown, Jarron Collins, Chris DeMarco, Bruce Fraser, and Willie Green.
With the Rockets' 127-114 loss to the Bucks on Monday night, the Warriors (38-7) clinched the best first-half record in the West.
Kerr is leading the West for the second time as the Warriors head coach. In 2015, Kerr coached the West to a 163-158 victory over the Eastern Conference.
Kerr joins Alvin Attles as the second Warriors head coach to earn the honor multiple times. Attles coached the Western All-Stars in 1975 and 1976.
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and forward Kevin Durant were voted as starters for the West. Voting was conducted between the fans, players, coaches, and media.
Kerr, 51, has compiled a 178-31 regular season record as the Warriors' head coach. He is currently in his third season leading the team.