Disappointment in L.A. that Jackson didn’t return to Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has insisted that he is happy for Phil Jackson after he was appointed president of the New York Knicks.
Having spent more than a decade working together with the Lakers and bringing five championships to the franchise, Kupchak has revealed that he understands his decision to join the Knicks, where the challenge is significant for the 68-year-old in his first front office role.
Jackson signed a five-year deal with the team he previously played and won two championships with, with reports claiming the contract is worth around $60m.
While Kupchak revealed that he had Jackson as a “consultant of sorts” for the Lakers last summer, there was disappointment in some parts of the city after they failed to bring him in on a more permanent basis.
“Based on what took place [at Jackson’s introductory news conference Tuesday], to me, it sounds like something that’s just too good to be true and too good to pass up on,” Kupchak told ESPN Los Angeles.
The Lakers GM also revealed that he spoke with Jackson about a year ago with the conversation bringing up the suggestion of helping out, but there was never a definitive role offered to the former coach while Kupchak is now happy that his friend is back involved in the NBA.
That sentiment was echoed by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich who is delighted to see his former rival back in the game, and believes that with time he will help transform the Knicks.
However, he did insist that the relationship in the front office through all levels must be right if the organisation is to prosper with Jackson overseeing matters, and that success is based on all parties being involved in decisions to form a winning culture.