Jeanie Buss says Lakers hiring Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson was ‘betrayal’
Los Angeles Lakers executive vice president of business operations — and fiancee of legendary coach Phil Jackson — Jeanie Buss calls the team’s decision to hire Mike D’Antoni over Jackson last November “a betrayal” in her upcoming updated memoir, “Laker Girl,” saying that it “practically destroyed me.”
In an excerpt from the book published in The Los Angeles Times, Buss provides extensive details on the Lakers’ coaching search following the firing of Mike Brown five games into last season, revealing that her brother Jim Buss — the executive VP of player personnel, who had a contentious relationship with Jackson — led the charge to choose D’Antoni.
I felt that I got played. Why did they have to do that? Why did Jim pull Phil back into the mix if he wasn’t sincere about it? . . .
Phil wasn’t looking for the job, and then he wasted 36 hours of his life preparing for it when they were never in a million years going to hire him anyway.
How do you do that to your sister? How do you do that to Phil Jackson?
Buss explains that her late father Jerry, who died in February, trusted Jim with the decision, but knew that the “Showtime” teams of the 1980s could “never be replicated” as Jim was hoping to do.
She also details Jim’s choice to bring Jackson back into the mix, his meeting with Jackson at Jackson’s house, Jackson’s reported lofty contract demands, which Buss says are false, and the moment they found out about D’Antoni’s hire.
After we went to bed, the house phone rang at 11:30. I heard Phil pick it up and say, “Okay, alright. Okay.”
When he hung up, I asked him what that was about, and he said, “Mitch called to tell me they’ve hired D’Antoni. He said that they feel given the personnel they have that D’Antoni is a better fit. He said they know they are going to take a bit of a PR hit, but he thinks it will blow over in a month.”
“He said it will blow over in a month?” I repeated in disbelief.