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Phil Jackson, Kobe & Malone OUT

Kansas State 2000

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Zen Master's coaching career with the Los Angeles Lakers is over.


Phil Jackson, one of the most successful coaches in NBA history, won't return as coach of the Lakers next season, his agent Todd Musberger told the Associated Press on Friday. Musberger said a joint statement would be released later.


The move was expected even before Jackson met with Lakers owner Jerry Buss following the coach's participation in season-ending exit interviews with several players earlier in the day.


Jackson's five-year, $30 million contract expires at the end of the month. He was discussing a contract extension, but the Lakers broke off talks in February until after the season.


As it turned out, there were no such talks.


Also, the Lakers announced Friday that Kobe Bryant, as expected, opted out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.


Karl Malone has already opted out of his contract, although he hopes to play for the Lakers if healthy. Gary Payton and Derek Fisher could follow Bryant and Malone and opt out of their deals



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Now Shaq says he wants out. He has lost faith in Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers organization.


Shaq is a spoiled baby, and the moment he doesn't get what he wants he runs away, did the same thing in Orlando. How do you improve on being the cornerstone player on a franchise with strong management thats totally committed to winning championships and has the bankroll to aggressively pursue them??


Shaq's greed benefited him when it brought him to LA. Its gonna hurt him if it leads him away. Everywhere is a big step down for him, save a franchise or 2.


I'm sure Mark Cuban is on the phone right now.

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Yep, looks like the Laker's plans are to re-sign Kobe at all costs and to deal the older Shaq if need be. There is NO way that both are Lakers next year. Either Kobe leaves (by his own choice) and the Lakers back peddle and kiss Shaq's arse to keep him happy, or they deal the Diesel, and pay Kobe mucho dinero to sign a long-term deal. It will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds. Also, here's a nice read posted today on ESPN.com http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?id=1824721 that says Shaq saw the Laker's end coming in April.

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