Jackson Will Not Return as Coach of Lakers

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., June 18 -- In a meeting this afternoon, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson and owner Dr. Jerry Buss mutually agreed that Jackson will not return as head coach of the Lakers. Buss offered Jackson another position with the organization, which Jackson will decide whether or not to accept in the near future.

"In my opinion Phil is the best coach in the history of the NBA and he did a phenomenal job for us these past five years, for which I am very grateful," said Buss. "Not only did he help lead us to three more championships, but he helped the Lakers regain our status as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, franchises in all of sports. In addition to his success on the court, Phil was also a pleasure to deal with off the court."

"The experience of the past five years has been great," said Jackson. "Three rings and a fourth opportunity makes this a bittersweet ending, but it's time to pause and reflect. I'm appreciative of all the Lakers, the organization, the fans and Dr. Buss. The opportunity extended by Dr. Buss to work as an administrator is generous and I expect to make a decision about that in the coming weeks."

Jackson, who signed a five-year contract in the summer of 1999, led the Lakers to the NBA Finals four times and to NBA Championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Jackson's nine championships ties him for first all-time with Red Auerbach.

He leaves the Lakers with an NBA career record of 832-316, tied with Cotton Fitzsimmons for 10th all-time in career victories. Jackson's .725 winning percentage ranks first all-time in the NBA (836-316).

As the head coach of the Lakers, Jackson compiled a regular season record of 287-123. Jackson's .700 winning percentage ranks him second all-time in Lakers history behind Pat Riley (.733). Additionally, Jackson ranks first all time in NBA postseason history with a .717 winning percentage (175-69).

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