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Jackson Plans to at Least Finish Deal


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Nearing the end of his third season in Los Angeles, Phil Jackson has given no indication that he will resign before expiration of his five-year, $30-million coaching contract.

There have been no negotiations to extend Jackson's contract, either.

"I have not said two years is it," Jackson said Monday. "I mean, I want to fulfill my contract, that's my first obligation, is to try and do that. It's a responsibility I owe to Jerry Krause. At that time, you know, I'd like to think the next step over."

A fine sentiment, except Jerry Krause is the general manager of the Chicago Bulls, and Jackson's old boss.

"I'm sorry," Jackson said, laughing. "Did I say Jerry Krause? Jerry Buss!"


Jackson said he has been told Red Auerbach is unhappy about the manner in which his criticism of Jackson has been presented, though he has not yet spoken to Auerbach. Jackson suggested Auerbach believed he was misquoted.

Jackson has won eight championships as a coach and appears to be on the verge of tying Auerbach's NBA record of nine.

"I expect a cigar," he said with a smile. "Not lit, hopefully."


Jackson does not have many close friends among fellow NBA coaches and he rarely gets votes for coach of the year--chosen by the media--despite his enormous success.

Though he sometimes annoys them, he does have admirers in his own locker room, and Rick Fox said Monday the players would take up for Jackson.

"It's becoming personal for us [playing] for him," Fox said. "You keep hearing comments about his ability to coach. There's been questions about it, with people saying it's just the talent he has.

"I feel as much as he's done for us, we need to come out in his defense. I didn't have a championship before I met him. Neither did Kobe. Neither did Shaq. "We're all better players because of him. It's disappointing to have to defend yourself when you've been as successful as he's been.

"If there's anything we can do as players, it's come back next year and do something that hasn't been done since the 1960s.

"It's jealousy. We recognize where it comes from."


Bryant was on Jason Kidd for much of the fourth quarter in Game 3, a similar late-game strategy Jackson used against Sacramento's Mike Bibby.

That meant Derek Fisher, who was four for seven from the field and three for three from the three-point arc, hardly played in the final quarter. Brian Shaw, who is five inches taller than Fisher, guarded Kerry Kittles, who is 6 feet 5.


The Lakers and Nets each shot better than 50% in Game 3, the first time that's happened in a Finals game since June 4, 1987, when the Lakers and Boston Celtics did it.... The Lakers have made 17 of 32 three-pointers in Games 2 and 3.

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