What’s going on Rudy T?
Apparently, not the working relationship between the Lakers and Tomjanovich. It seems that Rudy T isn’t just ill as once thought...but there is something going on behind the scenes that may force him out as Lakers coach. Until he speaks...no one knows what that is.
Rudy T has some physical issues. He "retired" from the Houston Rockets because of them....and his bladder cancer took a lot out of him. Also, Rudy is the anti-Phil Jackson. He is into every play...and lives and dies with the ups and downs of the NBA. Really tough to do when you are coaching a team like the Lakers who basically live in a soap opera. He also has had alcohol abuse in his past.
Again....this isn’t set it stone. Word is that he has the "option" to resign....and the Lakers gave him that.
The Lakers were 22-19 under his leadership and have won the two games he has missed with an "illness".
Who will replace Rudy T?? Rumors are abound about who it could be. Some sources have them possibly looking at trying to get Phil Jackson back. Other sources think they’ll go after Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun. Michael Cooper, who had a brief stint as the Nuggets head coach, will have his name in the mix. But Kobe and Coop have already had words to each other. There is even a "joke" going around that Kobe Bryant should be player/coach since he’s calling all of the shots anyways.
Most likely, Frank Hamblin, who was the only holdover from the Phil Jackson era, will stay on as coach for the remainder of the season [hey, he is 2-0]. However, the Phil Jackson rumor has some legs....and some merit. It is being reported that Laker owner Dr. Jerry Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak approached Kobe Bryant about the possibility of bringing Phil Jackson back aboard the Lakers. The selling points were (a) the triangle offense would HAVE to run thru Kobe like it did thru Jordan in the day....(b) having Phil back with Kobe and the Lakers would royaly peeve off Shaq in Miami....(c) Phil brings offensive discipline that has been sorely missing on this team. Apparently, Kobe is taking to the idea.
It is rumored that Phil Jackson somewhat likes the roster that the Lakers have. He sees Kobe in the Jordan role....and an underused Odom in the Pippen role. Chris Mihm is no worse that Luc Longley and they have plenty of perimeter shooters that the triangle offense makes into stars. Jackson also tends to bring to teams defensive discipline...which has been sorely lacking for the Lakers and is evident by their 3-16 record when giving up 100+ points. It has been rumored of late about Phil Jacksion's itch to get back into coaching. But, all the jobs he may be willing to take wouldn't be open [Miami, San Antonio] or aren't very attractive [New York].
Jeanie Buss: Laker owner's daughter and Phil Jackson's woman
Here are some takes from Laker fans and observers about this development:
JOHNNYSEE: Not to me. This is purely intuitional, but I think Rudy was forced out. I believe Dr. Buss or Mitch or both have expressed displeasure with the way Rudy's coaching the team from game to game, if not necessarily with the overall results and the result was either Rudy being asked to leave or him saying, life's too short for this [crap] - if you don't like what i'm doing, fine - i'll leave. Am I the only one who noticed that Chris Mihm was suddenly in the last two games at crunch time under coach Hamblin? Either way, as most of you know, while i liked the guy, i was growing increasingly disenchanted with the coaching and, so long as this isn't health related, I'm not gonna shed any tears over this, I can tellya that. Will Jackson come back? Riley? Will they stick with Hamblin? Promote from within and give Rambis another shot? Coop? Who knows, but they sure weren't getting everything from the talent they have, such as it is.
YCS: I doubt the Lakers would give him such a long term contract, and a complete overhaul of a roster for a guy who hasnt' coached in a few years, only to jettison him after this few games. I can't imagine that would be what occured here. No way, not after 40 games. I don't care if he had players do handstands in the games. No way Buss and Kuptchak make a mid season change given how much turnover this team had in the offseason with this team above .500 in the West this year with Kobe missing games. I have no clue what it was, but I don't think it's ownership or a team issue. None of those things make sense. He's been an NBA lifer. He's dealt with all sorts of teams I'm sure in that time. You don't handle 35 or whatever years in this league without being able to handle various types of team issues. Honestly I almost hope that is the primary thing because it's either that or his health. And I'd rather have team issues for them, then health issues for Coach Tomjanovich. I'd be surprised if it weren't the latter though. He's too experienced with the NBA to have it be something in that regard.
Honestly. Looking at this roster. If he didn't have a past with them, I'd say Coach Jackson would be amazingly suited for this roster. Kobe would have more of a role in the triangle in years past. Odom would have the pippen role, and Atkins can hit from the perimeter. This is a team who's well suited for his offense. Coach Jackson teams have traditionally been good defensive teams. Obviously I'd be amazed if that actually were a possibility. Coach Jackson returning would be a huge slap in the face to all those critics who say Kobe forced him out, which would be quite a humorous occurrence that I'd enjoy. No way Riley returns midseason with his team on top of the East. Realistic people? I don't know. Bzdelik is probably the only option I can think of if you?re looking past whoever will take over this team on the interim level.
LAKRMIKE: I like Rudy as aperson I respect - as a nice guy. I want him to be happy and healthy. If he can do that, but no longer coaches the Lakers - I can live with it. Like you, I have been waiting half a season for the team's progress to appear. And it hasn't - until tonight.
WOLFONTHEAIR: Tim Legler said The Lakers definatley have give Rudy the "OPTION" of resigning That it is definatley health related But NOT Cancer...does this sound like alchohol again??? The stress of the season and the losing streak of 3 games? He didn't coach Sunday night..he was sick. Maybe he had a bout of drinking? Just speculation here of course. Did you also hear the wild rumor that The next Coach may be Jackson again??? Lol he seems to like the new look Lakers and is very very interested in them. Hmmmmm
BDB: Rudy is no fool,he sees the tough part of the schedule coming up and he sees what he has.
JROWE: Lots of speculation on the Big Show this afternoon. Theories ranging from Rudy not being happy with the team's play, to doctor's advice to avoid stressful situations. They also theorized that Jax would be contacted by Buss, and that Jackson has said that he's "intrigued" by the Laker talent. Kobe would be the "Jordan" in Jackson's new version of the Triangle, and they said "remember, Kobe didn't say he hated Phil as a coach, he just didn't like the fact that Shaq was the focal point in Phil's offense". Another one they mentioned was Kobe mirroring Cary Grant in "It's A Wonderful Life" (I think that was the movie), where he realizes what he had, and wants to revisit it. So in this situation he misses the coach that Jackson is, and in a scenario where he's the vertex of the Triangle; then it works better for Kobe than before. That's John and Steve's take (of the Big Show). John travels with the team, and is privy to key information. Also, Joe McDonnell (when he's not full of himself) is actually a journalistic bloodhound, who gets breaking stories regularly. He backs the Jackson coming back to the Lakers theory, and feels that Rudy is viewed as being "too nice". That Jackson is missed, and would come back to the Lakers in a "let bygones be bygones" mentality. So, what ABOUT that book??? ;-)
It's got to be understood, that Kup and Buss need to maximize the team they have, with the player they've invested in 7 years and a gazillion bucks. That they've been languishing in their inconsistency with the Xs and Os that haven'tyielded anything watchable to this point, I wouldn't be surprised if Jackson is brought back, and Kobe is turned into Jordan (meaning shifting him to that position), and giving Odom the role we've been talking about. If Jackson is "intrigued", suffice it to say that Jackson's re-signing would appear to be imminent, especially since the Lakers star player gives his blessing to "appreciate what he had before", ESPECIALLY with Shaq out of the picture. This could be Kobe's dream come true.RSMBENTLEY: The concept of the triangle is not hard to master, but to be able to play with it consistently, you need more than just the bare concept, you need to be able to able to impliment it automatically. That takes time, and that takes throwing away games until you get it right. There's no shortcut to making a good system work. I hate to be repetitive, but it's just like what happened in Hoosiers. It really is. Until it's automatic, you suffer. If you try to skip over that, and just freelance because it's easier, you never really learn the system. Jackson's system would be easier to learn if he had a translator who made it easier to learn, and if he coached as well on defense as he did on offense, and so even if they were floundering around on offense, they'd stay in the game by getting stops. That bings me to one last quick point, which is about Jacksons' teams having good defense. They've had it in spite of him. They've had it when good players who were competitive to win their matchups in man-to-man defense, for a spurt here or there. The kind of defense the Lakers needed to make that comeback agaisnt Portland a few years ago was only for one half of one ballgame. It's a different era officially since Jordan quit. An era of physicality. You have to do it for the entire 3rd and 4th quarter... maybe the entire game, if you're against a team with as many weapons as San Antonio now has. Lakers have no physically intimidating players except Kobe. So what they need to do to be effective is to know what the offense is going to do against them and take initiative. Take some risks, go for steals, be ready to rotate if it fails. Think ahead. Know who to double with who, and when to rotate back. Good defense is dynamic. That motivation is not going to come from Phil, but it looks like Hamblen figured it out. Then again, the Blazer tonight played at a level where the lakers matched up against them man to man. If it was a different team like the Spurs, the only way to defend is to be out-thinking their coach, and that usually comes from your coach, and Phil doesn't usually do that. But that's what they need to do. Phil cannot cure this defensive mess. But he could cure the offense, if he just gets them to continue doing what they did tonight: move the ball. Just move it. And they'd be in better defensive posture transitioning after a make than a miss and outlet, which has generally killed them, though already, Hamblen seems to be imparting lessons with respect to transition ball.