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NBA Roundup: Jackson back to Lakers? McHale takes leave from Rockets

The SportsXchange

A source told CSN Bay Area late Friday that Phil Jackson would likely accept an offer to coach the Los Angeles Lakers if given organizational control of the team.

Jackson and Mike D'Antoni are believed to be the leading candidates to replace Mike Brown, who was fired on Friday after the Lakers started the season 1-4. They toppled the Golden State Warriors on Friday with Bernie Bickerstaff coaching the Lakers in the interim.

For Jackson to return for a third stint as the Lakers coach, executive vice president Jim Buss would reportedly have to hand over organizational power to Jackson instead of general manager Mitch Kupchak.

Former Laker Magic Johnson, an ESPN and ABC analyst, was critical of Brown during his tenure as the Lakers coach. There was speculation that Johnson was involved in Brown's firing but a source close to Johnson told CSN Bay Area that was "categorically untrue."

Jackson owns 11 NBA titles as a coach, including five with the Lakers. He left after the team lost in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs in 2011.

D'Antoni coached Lakers point guard Steve Nash with the Phoenix Suns. He stepped down as the New York Knicks coach during last season.

Former Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan and former Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy are also reportedly candidates for the job.

All parties involved understand the job is his for the taking if the 67-year-old chooses to coach again.

The Los Angeles Times reported the meeting took place Saturday afternoon.

Jackson has 11 NBA championships as a coach with the Lakers and Chicago Bulls.

The Lakers are courting Jackson to replace Mike Brown, the coach who replaced Jackson in 2011. Brown was fired after a 1-4 start before Friday's game against Golden State.

---The Toronto Raptors will be without guards Kyle Lowry and Landry Fields for Saturday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers, the team announced.

Lowry has a sprained right ankle and Fields has a sore wrist.

Lowry, a point guard, is the Raptors leading scorer at 18.3 points per game. He is also averaging 6.3 assists and 5.8 rebounds for the 1-4 Raptors. He hurt his ankle during Tuesday's loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Jose Calderon will start in Lowry's place.

Fields is averaging 2.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in just over 21 minutes per game.

---Kevin McHale is taking a leave of absence immediately to tend to a family matter, leaving assistant coach Kelvin Sampson to serve as interim head coach of the Houston Rockets.

There is no timetable for McHale's return, the Rockets announced.

"Kevin is a devoted family man who is needed back home in Minnesota at the moment," said Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in a team release. "The Rockets organization will keep Kevin and his family in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Sampson was hired as McHale's top assistant in July 2011. He spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks and previously coached collegiately at Indiana University and Oklahoma University.
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