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Report: Jackson thought Lakers' job was his if he wanted it

The SportsXchange

Phil Jackson said he left his Saturday meeting with Lakers manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president Jim Buss believing the Lakers' job was his if he wanted it, reported Monday.

Jackson said he left with a hand shake and understanding "that (he) would have until Monday (today) to come back to them with (his) decision."

Jackson was set to return to the Lakers on Monday morning if an agreement could be reached between his agent and the team, a source told ESPN.

But Jackson said Kupchak called him around midnight on Sunday and told him the Lakers had signed Mike D'Antoni to a three-year agreement and "they felt (D'Antoni) was the best coach for the team."

"The decision is of course theirs to make," Jackson said in a statement. "I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Laker Fans who endorsed my return and it is the principal reason why I considered the possibility."

Jackson told he never discussed contract terms in his Saturday meeting.

His agent, Todd Musburger, later told ESPN he believed Jackson's reported demands -- including a salary comparable to his previous Lakers contracts, more say in personnel matters and the option to skip some road games -- had been leaked to the media by the Lakers or D'Antoni's representative.

"There were no demands, outrageous or otherwise," Musburger said, according to "To say that he wanted control or that he wanted a zillion dollars or that he wanted equity, those were not topics discussed in the meeting between Kupchak, Buss and Phil. If the Lakers didn't spread those things, the fact they didn't take an affirmative stance to correct the record is very troublesome."

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