Will Knicks’ Phil Jackson Strip Mine Lakers’ Assets?

The Los Angeles Lakers had ample opportunity to hire Phil Jackson back, but they took a pass. Now that their former coach is running basketball operations for the New York Knicks as their new president, he may be looking westward for assets.

And why not? The basketball legend has developed a lot of relationships over his long career.

A winner of 11 championship rings as a coach and two more as a player with the New York Knicks, Jackson has long had a habit of turning to familiar faces to achieve the best results in his system-oriented style of basketball.

Most recently, Jackson tried to hire one of his former players, Steve Kerr, as the new head coach for the Knicks. Kerr wound up joining the Golden State Warriors instead for a longer guaranteed contract, a better roster of players and the opportunity to remain closer to his family in California.

Kerr described the difficulty of his decision in a telephone interview with NBA.com, per David Aldridge:

Ultimately, it was agonizing to say no to Phil because of what I think of him and what he's done for my career. When Phil Jackson asks you to coach the Knicks, how do you say no? I think they're going to turn it around, but going to be a big undertaking and it's going to take time. The idea of doing that 3,000 miles from home, it just didn't feel right.

That’s okay. Kerr may have been the first one Jackson invited to the Big Apple dance, but there are plenty of other hopefuls waiting in the wings.

Among the candidates mentioned by Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne for ESPN are Brian Shaw, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis and Luke Walton.

The Lakers failed to promote Shaw as Jackson’s replacement in 2011. They also traded away Derek Fisher, hired Kurt Rambis as an assistant coach last season and have Luke Walton under the family umbrella as a player development coach for the D-Fenders.

Shaw is curr...

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