Former coach Jackson talks to Lakers about returning

Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:39pm EST
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(Reuters) - Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson could be on the verge of returning to the Los Angeles Lakers for a third time.

The Lakers have confirmed the 67-year-old Jackson and team officials met on Saturday to discuss the job left vacant by Friday's firing of Mike Brown.

An answer could come as early as Monday with former NBA coaches Mike D'Antoni, Nate McMillan and Mike Dunleavy seen as back-up candidates.

Jackson's biggest concern appears to be the amount of travel involved. National Basketball Association (NBA) teams play 41 road games each season.

The Lakers, though, believe there is a 95 percent certainty the man who coached the team to five of his 11 NBA titles will take the job, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Jackson has already talked to assistant coaches who have worked with him previously about joining the Lakers' staff, the newspaper said.

He also has the support of the Lakers' biggest name, 14 times All-Star Kobe Bryant.

"When it comes to basketball, he's genius level," Bryant told reporters after Friday's win over the Golden State Warriors.

"One thing that's always bothered me is that his last year I wasn't able to give him my normal self," Bryant said of Jackson's last season in 20l1. "I was playing on one leg and that's always eaten away at me."   Continued...

Inductee Dennis Rodman (L) and his presenter Hall of Fame Coach Phil Jackson take the stage during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2011 Enshrinement Ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts August 12, 2011. REUTERS/Brian Snyder