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Phil Jackson debating whether to return to Lakers

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports

LOS ANGELES – After meeting with Phil Jackson on Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers are exploring ways to address some of his travel and work concerns to convince him to return for a third stint as their head coach, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

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Phil Jackson hasn't coached since the Lakers lost to the Mavs in the 2011 playoffs. (AP)

"It is Phil's job to decline," a source with knowledge of the talks told Yahoo! Sports. "So the real question is does he really want to do this for two more years knowing what he has done and not having any regrets? Only he knows that answer."

Those who have seen Jackson and spoken with him recently say he looks rested and in good shape, but still has concerns about the lengthy travel an NBA schedule requires, sources said. Some possible solutions, sources said, would be to allow his assistant coaches to coach some games and run shootarounds.

Jackson is expected to meet again with Lakers officials on Sunday or Monday, a source said. Bernie Bickerstaff will again coach the Lakers in Sunday night's game against the Sacramento Kings.

The Lakers' six-game homestand continues with games against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, Phoenix Suns on Friday, Houston Rockets on Nov. 18 and Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 20, allowing the team some time to begin its transition to a new coach. If Jackson is hired by Wednesday, he'd have two days of practice before the Lakers face the Suns.

[Related: Mike Brown never should have been Lakers coach]

If Jackson decides to take the job, he's expected to bring back former assistant coaches Kurt Rambis, Jim Cleamons and Frank Hamblen. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said money won't be a problem in negotiations with Jackson.

Kobe Bryant has made clear that Jackson is his preferred choice to replace Mike Brown, who was fired Friday after the Lakers began the season with losses in four of their first five games. While waiting on Jackson to make a decision, the Lakers also could talk to some other potential candidates, including former NBA coaches Mike D'Antoni, Nate McMillan and Mike Dunleavy. D'Antoni and Dunleavy are expected to have phone conversations with Lakers officials on Sunday, sources said. They have yet to contact McMillan.

Jackson, 67, has won five of his 11 NBA coaching titles with the Lakers. He left the Lakers after they were swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the Western Conference semifinals following the 2010-11 season.

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