Tuesday, November 25, 2014 Headlines & Global News

L.A. Lakers Rumors: Jeanie Buss Says Hiring D’Antoni Over Phil Jackson Was A 'Betrayal'; Kobe Bryant Nearing Return

By Jordan Webb j.webb@hngn.com | Sep 23, 2013 04:33 PM EDT

Phil Jackson
Knicks president Phil Jackson and Steve Kerr, who's expected this week to be named the team's head coach, reportedly plan to attend the NBA draft combine together on Thursday. (Photo : Reuters)

Los Angeles Lakers chief of business operations Jeanie Buss felt betrayed by the team's decision to sign coach Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson.  Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, is inching closer to returning to on-court basketball activities, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

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In an upcoming update to her "Laker Girl" memoir from 2010, Jeanie described her reaction to her brother, Jim, and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak choosing D'Antoni over Jackson to coach last season.  She said she considered it "a betrayal" and felt as if she had gotten "played."

"I felt that I got played.  Why did they have to do that?" Buss wrote, via the L.A. Times.  "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?

"I hope the flirtation with Phil wasn't just a PR stunt.  I still can't get my head around the whole story."

Jeanie goes on to write that Jim said the decision to hire D'Antoni was the decision of their father, former owner Jerry Buss.  Jim told ESPN the same story earlier in August.

"We did the coaching search and interviews and fed him all the information," Jim said.  "And he said, 'This is who I want.  D'Antoni's the man.'  Knowing that in the future we had to rebuild, he felt that Phil was not a guy to rebuild.  It's not fair to him.  It was actually more of a respect thought towards Phil."

Bryant, meanwhile, is nearing a return to on-court basketball activities.  Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said on Thursday that Bryant is "a few weeks away" from advancing to full-weight bearing running, which is the last phase before resuming on-court activities.

"He's doing well and has had no setbacks," Vitti told the Daily News.  "He'll be ready when he's ready.  Nobody has a crystal ball on this thing."

Read the full excerpt from Jeanie HERE.

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