I was shocked when I opened up the sports section in this Saturday's Washington Post and read this in an article about Lakers possibly positioning themselves for a long run in the coming years (emphasis added throughout):
The Lakers aren't just on the cusp of repeating this season; they may have championship mettle until Bryant retires. If they can dispense of Phoenix and the Eastern Conference champion, they might be on the cusp of becoming the Chicago Bulls of their era, the first team to win two and three in a row since the breakup of the Bling Dynasty -- Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, circa 2002.
Of course that involves Jackson, whom owner Jerry Buss wants to take a pay cut and stay after his contract expires this year. He's the biggest pending free agent for the franchise. But if he wants to coach and he feels good -- and both sides can come up with a fee that's not $10 million per year but also not insulting -- Jackson stays.
I read that in a hard copy (Yes Fox and 66, I still read hard copies of paper during weekends) and couldn't believe the bolded lines (I don't follow pro teams with the same dedication I follow UCLA). So when I logged on I ran up and unbelievably found posts about Jerry Buss asking Jackson to take a staggering 60 percent pay cut per ESPN's Michael Wilbon:
"I was told yesterday that Phil Jackson's been told that not only will he not be making $12 million dollars next year, it's going to be a $5 million dollar cap on his salary."
Wilbon apparently dropped that bomb while appearing on Tony Kornheirser's radio show in DC (via SportsByBrooks).
Let's put this in perspective here. Phil Jackson is the greatest coach ever from the NBA and arguably the second greatest teacher ever to coach in the game of basketball (next to Wooden). Jerry Bus is actually contemplating a pay cut for this living legend, while he had (reportedly) no problem forking up almost a million bucks for the most over-rated jerk in college football who doesn't even have a .400 winning percentage?
Note Buss denied reports in a recent interview with ESPNLA that he paid for HelloKiffin's buyout but he also said that be believed that Tim Floyd "had nothing to do with athletes allegedly receiving money." Uh yeah, so he doesn't come across as very credible b/c if Timmeh had "nothing to do with athletes allegedly receiving money," Mikey wouldn't be so lighting quick to throw him under the bus. So whatever Jerry.
Anyway, if the Lakers and Phil Jackson cannot agree on a K extension, it will be all on Jerry Bus. It is a joke that he is jerking around the Zen Master, while he (allegedly according to Trojan friendly sources) had no problem piling in cash for the most over-rated joke coach in college football.