COMMENTARY | Numerous challenges await the Los Angeles Lakers as they enter into the unknown next season.
How will they overcome the luxury tax nightmare that looms over the 2013-14 season? Will Lakers legend Kobe Bryant come back and return to form after suffering a devastating torn Achilles' tendon? Will Dwight Howard re-sign to spend his prime in Hollywood, and if so, is he the guy the team really wants leading the franchise in the post-Bryant era?
In between trying to sell books, legendary coach Phil Jackson hasn't shied away from being candid and critical of his former team when it comes to the obstacles they face.
"They're a mess," Jackson said on Friday at "Live Talks Los Angeles" via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. "We know that because of their financial disorder right now, that's the thing they have to get straight right away."
In a set of ironic circumstances only to be found in Laker-land, the Zen Master is engaged to Jeanie Buss, who runs the business side of the organization and owns the team along with the rest of her siblings. One of which, Jim Buss, is in charge of the operations side and has clashed with his sister and Jackson in the past.
Jackson went on to say that he believed it was Jim who was the key decision-maker when it came to the Lakers passing him up in favor of now-head-coach Mike D'Antoni. It's easy to gather that it certainly wasn't Jeanie and likely had little to do with Kupchak.
It's hard to believe that a coach who has 11 championship rings, a history of success, familiarity with the specific personnel he was set to coach and a career 70-percent win clip wasn't a better fit to lead this squad than D'Antoni. How could politics or personal feelings of ill-will not be involved?
It's all bizarre, but despite all of that, Jackson is really only stating the obvious.
L.A. will pay $60-$80 million in luxury taxes alone if Howard re-signs and they don't move Pau Gasol. Bryant is slated to make $30 million in the final year of his current contract and isn't going anywhere, despite some onlookers into the situation throwing around the amnesty provision like it's a real possibility when it comes to the Mamba.
The Lakers are stuck for the most part, and that means that Jackson is just speaking truth. The caveat here is that things will eventually get better, and the Lakers will always have one of the strongest brands in professional sports.
Jackson did, however, take a parting shot at the Charlotte Bobcats and his former player Michael Jordan as an executive when speaking about NBA assistant coach Brian Shaw and his next potential coaching destination.
"I told him to make sure he doesn't end up in a no-win situation like Charlotte," he added.
Hey, if you can't at least troll the folks at the bottom of the barrel, then who can you troll?
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Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA as a Southern California-based sports journalist and editor. He contributes to SB Nation in addition to Yahoo! Sports and is the Managing Editor and Founder of Sports Out West.
- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Kobe Bryant