While Phil Jackson hasn't officially landed a full-time job with an NBA team this year, it's still been a busy few months for the Zen Master. In addition to publishing a new book, Jackson served as a consultant for the Pistons' head coaching search, was aggressively courted by the Raptors, and reportedly had an agreement in place with Chris Hansen for a front office position had the Kings relocated to Seattle.
Despite drawing interest from around the Association, Jackson remains most closely connected to the franchise run by fiancée Jeanie Buss and her brother Jim Buss. Appearing at a Time Warner Cable event yesterday, Jackson, GM Mitch Kupchak, and Jeanie Buss all discussed Jackson's connection to the Lakers, as he continues to act as a "consultant of sorts" for the franchise. Here are a few of the noteworthy quotes, courtesy of Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com and Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
Jackson, on talking to Kupchak about the Lakers:
"We discussed some things, me and Mitch in the past couple of weeks, bouncing things around. That's been something that has happened. It's not something I expect them to rely on me for information, but I'm there to offer it. Not so much advice. Explaining the program that they're headed toward down the road and resolutions they had in the past and trying to clean that up and talk about some of the things in the future that are different ways in which they can resolve the issues. They asked if I can be of assistance. I said, 'Yeah, I'll help in whatever area you need to have help.'"
Kupchak, on Jackson's involvement with the club:
"He's over at the facility every now and then for obvious reasons. I'll see him then. We have reason to talk by phone every now and then…. Obviously his accomplishments here, and relationship with Jeanie, create an environment that we're susceptible to dialogue with a basketball person like Phil. If he was working for another team, it wouldn't be the same.
"I'm not sure why somebody like Phil isn't working for an NBA club right now. He has so much to offer to any franchise. Even though he doesn't have an official role with us, he's a consultant of sorts. Jeanie, I'm sure, talks to him every night about basketball. It may not be official, but there is an existing relationship."
Jeanie Buss, on Jackson's involvement with the team:
"Phil is a part of the organization because of me. Really the best way to look at it is the night of the Shaq jersey retirement, and Phil spoke on behalf of the Lakers fans and team. I want Lakers fans to know he is part of it. He's part of my life and part of my family. He's always in the Laker world no matter if he has an official position or not."
Buss, on whether she'd want Jackson to have an official position with the team:
"I think we're in good hands with our front office. Jim and Mitch know Phil is a phone call away. He's always available. He would always do anything to help, support or listen. It's like we're all family."