This morning, after the media was introduced to second round picks Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, Mitch Kupchak spoke about Phil Jackson's return, ongoing negotiations with Derek Fisher and free agency in general. Typical to the General Manager's established form, meaningful information about the latter pair of items was sparse. And by "sparse," I mean "Mitch was like a C.I.A. operative, but more secretive." But his thoughts on Phil were interesting, and either way, Kupchak in cryptic mode is amusing.
Below are a pair of videos and choice quote pulls from the meet and greet. We'll also have video of Ebanks and Caracter ASAP.
On Jackson's return and the stability it brings: "Regarding coach Jackson, we're ecstatic to have him back. Normally, he takes more time to make a decision, but I think he recognized with free agency and some of our assistant coaches up for jobs people needed to know what his future was. So he took some early time to get medical evaluations that might normally take a week or two, and he was comfortable... I always felt good about it, but he never committed. So to get a phone call on Wednesday night from him, it was not completely out of the blue but certainly it felt good to know that he's coming back. For the organization, it's a huge plus. In terms of stability- looking for another coach, looking for assistants at a very important time of the year, it's comforting to know that's something we don't have to do."
On clues he thought Jackson could come back: "I always felt as though [Jackson] was engaged. You can tell if somebody's not going to come back, that they're really not engaged in future decisions for the organization."
On Jackson's contract: "I don't anticipate any problems. Quite frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if it was done within a week, or sooner... We've had some dialogue with his representative today, and I don't see any problems."
Will this be his last year?: "That's a question for him. I'm happy to have him back this year... It sounds like he's made his mind up, but that's something to discuss down the road."
On creating a clear line of succession by naming the next coach now: "That's not something that we have interest in doing."
On negotiations with Fisher: "I've been in contact with his representative, and we plan to meet shortly. It would not be today, but maybe over the weekend or early next week... I don't think he wants to go anywhere, and I don't think we want him to go anywhere so there's a hope that you sit down and work something out and I believe that will happen."
On meeting with free agents: "We have not met with any prospective free agents other than those on our team... and I would not comment on anybody we may have contacted or not contacted. That's not how we do business."
On the sense of relief Jackson is back: "Absolutely. Although I always felt there was a good chance, I would never put the percentage over 50/50, that's just how it is in this business. Until someone makes a commitment or until they sign the agreement, you just never know. So to have our coach back- and not just any coach, to have Phil Jackson back and his staff back- it's comforting to know you don't have to go out on the coach's hunt, and not only find a head coach and find a supporting staff... it's very comforting."