Phil Jackson and Laker owner Jerry Buss had dinner earlier in the week at Buss' Playa del Rey home, where they talked about Jackson's recent trip to Australia, relived a few old times and perhaps buried a hatchet or two.
One important question did not come up.
"They did not discuss the coaching situation," Laker spokesman John Black said.
Jackson was there with his longtime girlfriend, Laker executive Jeanie Buss, Jerry's daughter. Jackson also had lunch with Jeanie Buss on Thursday at the Laker offices in El Segundo, the second time this week he stopped by Laker headquarters.
Jackson and the Lakers parted abruptly last June after Buss indicated he wanted to go in a different direction and declined to renew Jackson's contract. Buss thought the triangle offense had run its course and wanted a return to the high-scoring days of the "Showtime" teams of the '80s.
Rudy Tomjanovich was brought in to install a high-tempo offense, although it never held fast and Tomjanovich resigned last month because of physical and emotional pressures. The Lakers are back to running the triangle as their primary offense under Frank Hamblen, who took over for Tomjanovich and has endorsed Jackson for the job since the day he was promoted from assistant.