After a 1-4 start to the season, the Los Angeles Lakers have fired coach Mike Brown and immediate speculation turned to whether Phil Jackson was again the right man for the job.
In the short term, Brown was replaced on an interim basis by assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff. He was informed Friday morning he'd fill in while the team searches for a permanent replacement.
General manager Mitch Kupchak said the rest of the coaching staff would also remain for Friday's game against Golden State at Staples Center but was vague about the future of his assistant coaches.
"They'll be there tonight," Kupchak said. "Beyond that, it depends."
Kupchak said Friday at a press conference that he's open to player input based on the veterans on the roster. The people's choice is Jackson, but it's unknown whether the 67-year-old with 11 NBA titles as a head coach is ready to forfeit the freedoms of retirement.
Jackson led the Lakers to NBA championships in five of his 11 seasons as their head coach from 1999-2011.
"When there's a coach like Phil Jackson, one of the all-time greats and he's not coaching," Kupchak said, "We'd be negligent not to be aware."
The decision to fire Brown was made by owner Jerry Buss. He has made no secret of his affinity for Jackson.
Jackson said last month that he was enjoying retirement and resisted overtures from the Knicks at the end of last season. Speculation surrounding Jackson intensified Friday when it was learned he was replaced as keynote speaker at a major investment seminar due to an unexpected conflict. But the Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Jackson had not been contacted about the job.
---New Orleans rookies Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers were cleared to return for Friday night's game against Charlotte, Hornets coach Monty Williams said.
Davis sat out two games as a precaution after he suffered a concussion a week ago in a game against Utah when he took an accidental elbow from Rivers on the side of the head.
Rivers missed Wednesday's loss to Philadelphia after he sprained his left index finger in Tuesday's practice.
---Knicks star forward Carmelo Anthony went to the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn on Thursday to personally pass out supplies to those in need, according to ESPNNewYork.com.
"I wanted to step up to the forefront," Anthony said to reporters. "We all know what Sandy did to our city, especially to Brooklyn, and to Red Hook, with us being right here on the water. It hit us pretty bad, so I feel like I'm the face of Red Hook and I wanted to come back and give back to the place I grew up."