Their presence loomed large with any gesture Phil Jackson and Jeanie Buss made. Photographers continuously clicked their cameras as they stood on the blue carpet Wednesday at a Time Warner Cable sponsored event at the Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles that honored the late Lakers owner Jerry Buss. Moments later, Jackson and Jeanie sat on a couch conversing with a handful of writers for more than 20 minutes. And in her first comments since her father's passing at age 80 four months ago from an unspecified form of cancer, Jeanie Buss provided several revealing tidbits on the state of the Lakers' franchise. That started with the former coach and fiancée who guided the Lakers to five NBA championships. "My message to Lakers fans is Phil is a part of the organization because of me," said Buss, who's the Lakers' executive vice president of business operations and serves as the team's governor. "He's part of my life and part of my family. He's always in Laker world, no matter if he has an official position or not." Would Buss want Jackson to have an official position with the team? "I think we're in good hands with our front office," said Buss, referring to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and her brother, Jim, the team's vice president of basketball operations. "Jim and Mitch know Phil is a phone call away. He's always available. He would always do anything to help, support or listen. It's like we're all family." That has already happened with examples beyond Jackson speaking at Shaquille O'Neal's jersey retirement at Staples Center two months ago. Kupchak confirmed Jackson 's revelation that they talked "in the past couple of weeks" about unspecified issues concerning the Lakers. "I'm not sure why somebody like Phil isn't working for an NBA club right now," Kupchak said. "He has so much to offer to any franchise. Even though he doesn't have an official role with us, he's a consultant of sorts." Jackson has said he would've had a front office role had Seattle investor Chris Hansen successfully brokered a deal to buy the Sacramento Kings. Jackson also became an advisor with the Detroit Pistons during their coaching search that ultimately resulted in the hiring of Maurice Cheeks. What about the Lakers? "It's not something I expect them to rely on me for information. But I'm there to offer it," Jackson said. "They asked if I can be of assistance. I said yeah, I'll help in whatever area you need to have help."
Jeanie Buss says Phil Jackson has consultant role
L.A. Daily News | Jun 20