Would the Lakers be such a favorite in basketball betting next year if head coach Phil Jackson was not on the sidelines?
Jackson is making a reported $12.5 million dollars this season as head coach of the Lakers. There are reports that owner Jerry Buss is not willing to pay him nearly that much to come back next season. "It's been indicated there will be a salary cut but not. I'm not going to say 'down,' that's kind of weird to say stuff like that," Jackson said. "It's still a ridiculous salary whatever it is." The reports are that Buss wants to put Jackson’s salary at $5 million for next season. "A lot of it has to do with the direction the league is going, the direction the ownership wants to go in," Jackson said. "People are cutting costs all around the league, and coaches are obviously going to take a cut too, so they may not even want to hire me. They may want to save some money."
The big key as to whether Jackson will come back could be more about his legacy than the money. If the Lakers win the NBA Finals they would go into next season with a chance to win three straight. That might be incentive enough for Jackson to return to Los Angeles for another season. If the Lakers are upset in either the Western Conference finals by Phoenix or in the NBA Finals, it is almost a given that Jackson won’t be back.
If the Lakers are going for three in a row it is very like that Buss and Jackson will have to reach some sort of compromise on salary next season. If the Lakers lose then it will be a moot issue and Jackson will likely coach elsewhere or retire. Earlier this month Jackson said that there is definitely a chance he will retire after this season.
Jackson is considered the best NBA coach in the league currently and there are many people who consider him the best coach of all-time. If the Lakers win the NBA title again this season there may not be much debate left.