Posted November 13, 2012

Agent, Rambis slam Lakers over treatment of Jackson

Ben Golliver, Jim Buss, Kurt Rambis, Los Angeles Lakers, Mike D'Antoni, Phil Jackson

By Ben Golliver

Phil Jackson was informed of the Lakers’ decision in a late-night phone call on Sunday. (Tony Gutierrez/AP)

Phil Jackson hasn’t said much after the Lakers passed over him, opting to hire Mike D’Antoni to replace the fired Mike Brown as coach in a surprise decision early Monday. His agent and a key lieutenant, however, are saying plenty.

Todd Musberger, Jackson’s agent, and Kurt Rambis, a former Jackson assistant, both blasted Lakers management for their treatment of Jackson during the hiring process on Monday, the same day D’Antoni was officially announced as coach. The source of their complaints: the Lakers and Jackson met on Saturday, with Jackson believing he had until at least Monday to mull over the next steps. Instead, 24 hours later, the Lakers called in the middle of the night to inform him that D’Antoni would be receiving the job.

Musberger stood up for his client in statements made to ESPNLA.com, saying that the Lakers did not treat Jackson fairly or honestly and that their conduct was “shabby.”

“Don’t say you’ve got until Monday, then roust him at midnight to say, We hired somebody else.’ That’s just not fair dealing and Phil deserved fair dealing… He’s a good faith person and he was dealt with poorly. It is indicative of the shabby way that organization is being run… Phil brought nothing but trophies to their bookcase and value to the franchise. He deserved to be dealt with honestly.”

Musberger also defended his client against reports that he sought authority in basketball operations decisions and favorable travel arrangements.

“There were no demands, outrageous or otherwise… To say that he wanted control or that he wanted a zillion dollars or that he wanted equity, those were not topics discussed… If the Lakers didn’t spread those things, the fact they didn’t take affirmative stance to correct the record is very troublesome.”

Rambis co-signed the denial of Jackson’s reported demands, in comments made to USA Today.

“They had told Phil that it was his job (in a Saturday interview), that he was their first choice, and they agreed to wait until Monday — today — to allow him time to digest whether or not he felt he was, in fact, the right coach to come and coach this team,” Rambis told USA TODAY Sports. “And, in fact, his agent (Todd Musburger) flew into town — he’s here from Chicago — to start negotiations. So Phil had made his mind up that he wanted to coach this team. Somewhere between Saturday afternoon, when Phil and I had a conversation, and Sunday night, the Laker organization made a complete 180-degree turn.”

The former Timberwolves coach, who was a Lakers assistant from 2002 to 2009, also took a swipe at Lakers executive Jim Buss, son of owner Jerry Buss, who reportedly hired Brown in the first place.

“If you’re talking about having success and having this team and someone who knows how to guide a team to an NBA title, Phil is that guy,” he said. “There’s no second, third, fourth or fifth choice at this point in time. He’s that guy. I don’t know if Jim Buss knows one system from another in terms of how it fits with players, or what works best for players, or what’s the difference between them. I don’t know if he really understands that, so a lot of times decisions are made on gut feelings and with outside sources that have an influence on it.”

Jackson issued a brief statement on Monday, touching on these points, but in gentler fashion. He said that that he did not “solicit or ask for” the job, that he hadn’t discussed contract details with the Lakers and that he was woken up in the middle of the night by the team informing him of their decision to hire D’Antoni.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak issued a short, prepared remark to announce the hire on Monday.

“After speaking with several excellent and well-respected coaching candidates, Dr. Buss, Jim and I all agreed that Mike was the right person at this time to lead the Lakers forward,” the statement read. “Knowing his style of play and given the current make-up of our roster, we feel Mike is a great fit, are excited to have him as our next head coach and hope he will help our team reach its full potential.”

12 comments
postmeridian
postmeridian

Remember how Phil Jackson was treated by Bulls GM Jerry Krause in 1998? He has seen this before and is not surprised in the least...

He knows the Lakers made a mistake, not him...

postmeridian
postmeridian

So what? Phil Jackson is a Buddhist. He has already moved on...

JeffSmith2
JeffSmith2 like.author.displayName 1 Like

the lakers used to have class and players would play for them for less money, i fear jim buss  will ruin the laker organization like al davis  did for the raiders..i have afeeling if dwight doesnt make it to the finals he and paul will go to dallas  

MickTimbrell
MickTimbrell

Am I the only one in the world that seems to remember how Jackson was treated before he left in the first place, Buss' little boy pretty much acted like he didn't need Phil Jackson, and has been pretty disrespectful in general with regards to Phil Jackson, so to be honest this dosen't surprise me, I just find it funny that when ever anything goes wrong in lakerland you can bet on two things:one, that in Kobe's eyes its never his fault, and two if there is any kind of problem with the team, that the team will come running to Jackson, screaming and crying to suckle some more success from Jackson's tites, like some scared little baby.

pcwhite2
pcwhite2

 @MickTimbrell 

 

Kobe has 5 rings with the Lakers and is singularly focused on getting more, so it's not his fault.

DirtyPantiesLover1
DirtyPantiesLover1

they thought they were going to hire phil jackson for peanuts, the man with 11 rings? are they crazy? they instead hired a loser who has never even been to the finals for a LARGE sum. what a complete joke.

John Speak
John Speak

I would be shocked if Phil doesn't take another high profile job now. O City next year if the don't win it all this year? Chicago, again?

rlewis474
rlewis474

I agree with lkrfan. Bad management = bad team, eventually. The Lakers are better than this. 

lkrfan
lkrfan like.author.displayName 1 Like

It appears that the Lakers "took their offer off the table".  If they indeed told Phil Jackson (and I have no reason to doubt that they did) he had until Monday to make up his mind whether or not he wanted the job, it was unexcusable for them to change their mind and call him at midnight.  If he indeed did make the outrageous demands that he is accused of making, the Laker brass knew that those demands were unacceptable before midnight.  I am concerned about the direction that the Lakers are headed.  I no longer have the confidence in their management to make beneficial decisions.  It may be a good thing that only Time Warner subscribers can see their games, I'm not sure if I even want to; to be honest, I;'m embarassed to say I'm a Laker Fan.

mitchelsbay
mitchelsbay

The lakers got another looser and passed on the BEST!