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Lakers coach Phil Jackson eyeing retirement

June 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Lakers coach Phil Jackson says his many health concerns may lead him to retire from his lucrative coaching career.The 11-time NBA champion said that he will wait until he gets the results of another battery of medical tests make his final decision. Jackson, though, seems to be favoring the thought of hanging up his coaching whistle.

"I'm leaning towards retiring but I have not made up my mind," Jackson told reporters Wednesday.

Jackson told Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss that once he gets those medical results Thursday, he plans to drive out to Flathead Lake, Mont. to mull over those results and make his final decision a week from Friday.

"Some of it's about health," Jackson said. "Some of it is just the way I feel right now. It's hard not to think about coming back ... but it's what I feel like right now."

Jackson's health concerns include an arthritic right knee that he wears a brace on daily, two replaced hips, kidney stones and a heart ailment.

The 64-year-old coach is the winningest playoff coach in NBA history, with 225 postseason victories and two more titles than Boston's Red Auerbach. His Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in a seven-game NBA finals last week for the franchise's 16th championship.

Lakers players uniformly say they want Jackson back next season. Kobe Bryant said the club would be drastically different" without Jackson and his cerebral presence on the sideline. But the coach says he feels burned out from the grind of NBA travel and the nine-month season, particularly after consecutive trips to the finals.

On that same token, Jackson says the possibility of a third consecutive championship for the fourth time in his career intrigues him.

"My intention was that if we won the second time, to go for a threepeat would be natural," Jackson said. "It would be tough not to go for another championship in that threepeat realm, which is ridiculous. That's one of those things that's sitting out there that's still a fly in the ointment."

With Jackon on the bench, the Lakers have reached the last three NBA finals, losing to Boston in 2008 before routing the Orlando Magic last year for their 15th title.

AP and ESPN LA contributed to this report.


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