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Los Angeles Lakers team owner Jeanie Buss confirmed in a recent interview she was receiving input from Phil Jackson, among others, about decisions within the organization.
Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke, who talked to Buss about the state of the Lakers organization, floated the rumor that Jackson wanted LeBron James to be traded.
Phil Jackson, then-president of the New York Knicks, and Jeanie Buss, president of the Lakers, pose for a photo at Staples Center on March 12, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
“I’ve heard that Phil would like LeBron traded. I’ve just heard that but I’ve got nothing to back that up. No on-the-record stuff to back that up. I do know that Phil would like to keep Westbrook and try to make that work with him,” Plaschke said on the “Doug Gottlieb Show” on Tuesday.
Buss told the Los Angeles Times in a story published earlier Tuesday she was getting input from Jackson and Magic Johnson but expressed full support for general manager Rob Pelinka.
“People see us around town, we have breakfast, lunch, dinner, whatever… it’s not anything romantic,” she said of Jackson, whom she dated for a while. “He’s somebody that knows this environment and knows the challenges I have and wants to see the Lakers successful, so he’s somebody I know doesn’t have any other agenda than for the Lakers to be successful, so he’s somebody that I can lean on.”
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers talks to the media after the Raptors game on March 18, 2022, in Toronto, Canada. (Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images)
James and his camp were irked at Jackson in 2016 when the legendary head coach referred to them as a “posse.”
“To use that label, and if you go and read the definition of what the word ‘posse’ is, it’s not what I’ve built over my career,” James said at the time, via NBC Sports. “It’s not what I stand for, it’s not what my family stands for. I believe the only reason he used that word is because he sees young African Americans trying to make a difference.”
Jackson would later tell CBS Sports Network’s “We Need To Talk” he regretted the “word choice.”
Buss told the newspaper if James wants to leave the Lakers, it will be on his terms. James could be traded this summer or become a free agent after the 2022-23 season.
“I want him to feel confident in the team, that we have the pieces to win a championship. He has to be happy. … I want to make sure that he’s happy,” she said.
LeBron James hugs Jeanie Buss as the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate winning Game Six of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on Oct, 11, 2020, in Orlando, Florida, (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
She made clear that she believed the Lakers could win another championship with James and Anthony Davis as the centerpieces of the team.