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Buss says waiting on next Jackson deal normal

Phil Jackson does not have a contract to coach the Lakers next year. That fact has led to a lot of speculation and talk -- from a struggle for control within the Buss family to Jackson leaving Los Angeles to coach the Knicks next year.

Jerry Buss would like to remind you that last year at this time Jackson did not have a contract. Same with the year before that, Buss said in an interview with

We really want to get through the year and then take a deep breath and see where we are. If I were to go to Phil right now and say, “Will you coach next year?” he’d say, “Well, let’s wait until the end of the year and see how I feel.” So, I don’t think it causes any tension. I know I have to wait until season’s end before a discussion begins.

Jackson, 64, has had both hips replaced and a couple years ago was in considerable pain dealing with the travel and grind of an NBA season. However this year he appears to be moving well, be in good spirits, and girlfriend Jeannie Buss says he physically feels as good as he has in years.

Here’s the thing -- winning titles drives Jackson. Winning drives Buss (read what he says in that interview about poker). Two men who may not have a lot else in common (save a love of Jeannie) are bound by winning. Right now they need each other two do it. When they part ways, it will be because that chance to win now has ended and one party (or both) decides to move on. Until then, don’t expect any changes.