Kobe Bryant is expected to sign an extension and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers' core players are signed into the future. Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, however, is not under contract next season.
In a wide-ranging interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com, enigmatic Lakers owner Jerry Buss delivered some thoughts on the process and addressed recent reports of family tension regarding the re-signing of Jackson for next season.
"If I were to go to him right now and said, 'Phil, will you coach next year?' He would say let's wait until the end of the year and see how I feel," said Buss. "So, I don't think it causes any tension, I just have to wait until then before a discussion begins [on a new contract]."
Both the coach and owner in recent years have re-evaluated Jackson's contract after the season once the coach's three-year contract expired in 2008. Jackson traditionally takes time away from Los Angeles after the playoffs and assesses his health at his Montana ranch. He is 64.
Buss added: "I think from [the Lakers'] perspective we really want to get through the year, then take a deep breath and see where we are."
Jackson, in his 19th season as a coach, has won four NBA championships with the Lakers, including a title last June beating the Orlando Magic in five games. He is in his 10th season with the Lakers, one more than he spent as coach of the Chicago Bulls.