The Lakers will be Zen for one more season.
Phil Jackson announced today that he will be back for one more year as Lakers head coach, and try to get one-more three-peat for his career.
"Count me in," said Jackson in the official statement on Lakers.com. "After a couple weeks of deliberation, it is time to get back to the challenge of putting together a team that can defend its title in the 2010-11 season. It'll be the last stand for me, and I hope a grand one."
This explains why Brian Shaw pulled his name out of the running for the Cleveland Cavaliers head-coaching job a couple days ago — Shaw is the logical successor for Jackson. He would keep the triangle offense going through what is left of this championship window for L.A.
Former Laker Byron Scott got the job coaching in Cleveland, where he may or may not have LeBron James. So, he may or may not have a chance of winning more than 25 games.
Thank You Phil Love you man!!!!! Let's get it LA
Jackson had said during the finals that his health would determine if he came back, although during the season those around him said this was the best he had felt in years. He underwent a battery of tests (even missing the Lakers championship parade to be at the doctor's office). Rumors from those around the Lakers were that while he may need off-season knee surgery to clear up an ongoing issue, he had a generally clean bill of health. Nothing that would keep him off the bench.
The other issue was pay. Jackson had admitted during the finals that owner Jerry Buss told him there would be a pay cut from the $14 million he made last season ($12 million base salary plus a $2 million bonus for winning the title). No numbers leaked yet on what he will make this go around. But be sure that it’s more than you make.
Jackson now has the chance for a very special distinction — the fourth three-peat of his career. He had two with Chicago and that Jordan guy, and the first one with the Kobe/Shaq Lakers.
Despite all the shifting of power around the NBA and the current Lakers are still the team to beat, especially with Jackson back. There is only one Kobe, and Pau Gasol remains the most skilled big man in the game, plus they have Artest, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum.
There are only a handful of teams that realistically stand a chance against the Lakers. But with the team playing to get one last ring for Jackson, those teams will find the Lakers even harder to de-throne.