Lakers Coach Phil Jackson doesn't think NBA players should cry in… (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters )
Reporting from Atlanta — Funny thing about Lakers Coach Phil Jackson. Even when he doesn't want to talk about something, he can't help himself and talks about it.
The Lakers have another impact game Thursday against the quickly crumbling Miami Heat, a franchise so confused that its coach implicated players by saying they cried in the locker room after losing to Chicago.
The Lakers have been the anti-Miami in recent weeks, their midseason doldrums replaced by smiles and high fives as they destroy team after team.
Maybe that's why Jackson didn't want any part of the Miami crying game when initially asked about it Tuesday.
"No, I'm not talking about that," he said. "People cry in locker rooms, but I don't want to talk about Miami's situation."
Of course he didn't stop there.
"This is the NBA: No Boys Allowed. Big boys don't cry," he said, before adding one piece of advice. "But if you're going to do it, do it in the toilet where no one sees you."
The Lakers play the Heat for the first time since their humiliating Christmas Day loss, a setback so demoralizing that they retooled their defense afterward.
It took the Lakers a while to adjust to it — Charlotte and Cleveland, anybody? — but they allowed an average of 87 points in their first eight games since the All-Star break.
Will the triangle offense stay or go when Jackson leaves at the end of this season?
The Lakers are tailored to run the methodical offense because of an older, slower team, but you never know what a new coach would want to do.
Kobe Bryant has played 11 years in the triangle offense, and Derek Fisher has nine years in it.
"I would imagine that a coach would be amenable to using the information [from] Kobe and Fish and other guys on this team, Pau [Gasol]," Jackson said. "But you never can tell. That's up to ownership. If ownership wants to do something entirely different, they may shred this team and start over."
That will be tough to do. The Lakers have plenty of talent but also weighty contracts to match it that would make a roster upheaval difficult to do over the summer.
They won't be in a hurry to select a coach to replace Jackson, especially if a lockout pushes back the start of the season … or even cancels it. Why pay a coach a full salary if there won't even be games next season?
Jackson said he would be willing to help Lakers owner Jerry Buss and executives Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak pick his successor.
"I'm sure we're going to talk about it at some level," Jackson said.
Would he like to be a team consultant next season?
"No. Not unless I'm paid very well," he said, pausing. "That's a joke. I'll certainly be available."