Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Wednesday that Phil Jackson would not return next season unless he's able to coach the entire 82-game schedule.
Jackson said in an interview with ESPN radio on Tuesday that “we’ve toyed around with that idea” of having him coach home games and having assistant Kurt Rambis coach road games next season.
“What he said, he didn’t mean it to sound the way it sounded,” Kupchak said. “If he comes back to coach, he will come back and coach both home and away games. During my discussion with him it was pretty clear that that type of scenario doesn’t work and that’s his opinion as well.”
Kupchak said that he anticipates finding out whether Jackson will return by mid-July after Jackson checks out his health issues.
During his two stints with Los Angeles, Jackson has had two hip replacement surgeries, an angioplasty and gout. He missed two games last season with swelling and soreness in both legs.
Kupchak believes there is a good chance of Jackson returning.
“I think he wants to come back, I think he likes our team, he’s excited, he’s very energized with what took place this year,” Kupchak said. “I think it solely rests on his ability medically to come back and coach. I’ve got no indication there’s been a red flag yet.”
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