Phil Jackson hasn't received a formal contract offer from the Los Angeles Lakers, but 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. On Saturday evening, ESPN further confirmed a meeting took place earlier in the day between Lakers executive vice president Jim Buss, general manager Mitch Kupchak and Jackson. Sources told ESPN that the three men will meet again for further discussions "in a couple days."
ESPNLosAngeles.com's Ramona Shelburne reported that sources told her Jackson would likely be offered a two-year deal to coach the Lakers.
"It's Phil's job to turn down," the sources reportedly told Shelburne.
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.
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. Dunleavy is reportedly set to interview for the job on Sunday.
But a source reportedly close to Jackson told ESPN, "I can't imagine this not working out. Phil's health is fine now. That's no issue at all. Phil's feisty. He gets feisty when he's ready to coach. He likes this Lakers team."
The timeline may even be shorter than some think, as the same source said Jackson, the NBA's all-time winningest coach with 11 NBA titles, has already reached out to potential assistant coaches. Jackson left the Lakers after they were swept in the second round of the 2010-11 playoffs, eventually won by the Dallas Mavericks.