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Jackson sounds like he's on fence about his future

December 19, 2009 |  4:47 pm

Phil Jackson said Saturday he would make his decision on whether he’ll return as Lakers coach sometime in June or July.

The criteria for Jackson's decision seemed to change with every question he was asked about his future.

Jackson, who’ll earn $12 million this season in the final year of his deal, said the Lakers' repeating as NBA champions could  help sway his decision to return, or it might not have any bearing at all.

Jackson smiled and seemed to joke when he said he wouldn’t take a pay cut to return.

When Jackson first was asked whether his chances of returning would improve if the Lakers won the NBA championship again, he was emphatic with his answer.

“Oh, sure,” Jackson said. “It really does, but it’s not a definite that I would continue if we repeat.”

But Jackson seemed to waffle about that, indicating winning might not affect his decision to return.

“If things didn’t go well and we didn’t win, that would obviously be something that would be … maybe it would be time for someone else to look at this job and carry this team forward,” Jackson said. “That’s possibly not going to happen that way.

"But that’s kind of an issue. But, just winning it outright doesn’t mean it’s natural to come back and coach this team. I just don’t seem that has a natural thing. A lot of it has to do with the direction the league is going, the direction the ownership wants to go.

“You have people cutting costs all around the league. That’s a big part of it. I think coaches’ salaries are going to take a cut along the way. So then they may not even want to hire me. You know what I mean? They want to save some money. They can’t write that off.”

Jackson was asked whether he would work for less. “Why would you?” Jackson said, smiling.

-- Broderick Turner