Phil Jackson plans to trade LeBron but keep Westbrook
Legendary coach Phil Jackson, an advisor with the franchise, is open to trading LeBron James but keeping Russell Westbrook.
Times aren’t the best for the Lakers and there seems to be no end of rumours surrounding the franchise. Los Angeles are at the end of a season to forget, in which the team didn’t even make it as a far as the play-in, never mind the playoffs... that is something which is hard to comprehend from a roster which cost over 200 million dollars - if you include the 45M they had to pay in luxury tax. At the moment, they are without a coach (Frank Vogel was sacked at the end of the season) and the futures of some of their star players is up in the air. But one man is eager to turn things around and find solutions so that the team with the most rings (17, along with Boston Celtics) can get back to where they belong to be.
Former coach and NBA legend Phil Jackson knows the franchise inside out. With 13 championship rings (two as a player and 11 as a coach), he played a part in delivering five of the Lakers’ last six rings (the last one, with Frank Vogel still at the helm, in the 2020 bubble in Orlando). A coaching advisor, with a mystic presence and influence over the players, Jackson has played a pivotal role behind the scenes. He also held close working relationship with Michael Jordan and later with Kobe Bryant, as the Lakers forged a narrative which has never been unequalled in the best basketball league in the world over the past 30 years.
Lakers advisory board
Jackson continues to have a strong influence with the Lakers. For several years, he was involved in a romantic relationship with Jeanie Buss, now the controlling shareholder at the franchise following the internal shakeup which saw her brother Jim resign from his position as co-trustee. Buss still relies on a group of advisors, and in the current crisis, their opinions are valued more than ever. Other advisors include Kurt Rambis, his wife Linda and General Manager Rob Pelinka. An odd group who have taken good and bad decisions, depending on how the team has been performing.
According to veteran journalist Bill Plaschke, who recently interviewed Jeanie Buss, Phil Jackson is open to making a change to the roster. Citing information picked up by NBA Central, the 76-year-old ex-coach would be willing to trade LeBron James to boost the Lakers’ coffers - a move which would allow them to keep Russell Westbrook and construct a short-term project around the point-guard. It’s a controversial decision as Westbrook has had to endure regular harassment from fans while the Lakers had planned to offer LeBron (who will turn 38 in December), a two-year extension. At the moment, it’s rumours and little else - we’ll see how it all unfolds.