Phil Jackson was prepared to return to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday morning if negotiations between his agent and the team went well, a league source told ESPNLosAngeles.com late Sunday night.
When the Lakers called to tell Jackson that they had instead chosen Mike D'Antoni to be their next head coach, he was "stunned," according to the source, because he had been under the impression "it was his job to turn down," although no formal offer had ever been made.
Instead, the Lakers went with D'Antoni, believing he was a better fit for their current roster, sources told ESPN.
On the one hand, we have an urge to applaud the Lakers for not going to the Phil well again, since it sounds like his list of demands was getting a little ridiculous.
But the most rational part of us thinks this: If the Lakers, built to win now, turned down a chance to hire this generation's greatest championship coach and instead went with D'Antoni, they are fools. And there is no other way to put it.