Knicks President Phil Jackson No longer Engaged With Jeanie Buss
Phil survive a cross-country commute, and now the Zen Master’s greatest tie to the Lakers is severed.
Citing “mutual love and respect,” Jackson confirmed on Twitter — and in tiny font — that he and Jeanie Buss have broken off their engagement.
“With the nature of our professional obligations and the geographic distance between us, sustaining the relationship has been tough,” Jackson wrote. “We have shared many wonderful moments through the years, and we expect to remain supportive of each other in the future.”
Buss subtweeted Jackson’s message from her own account and wrote, “Nothing but love and respect for this man.” The Lakers president and co-owner then hinted that she was behind the breakup:
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“The love of my life is the Los Angeles Lakers. I love Phil & will always. It’s not fair to him or Lakers to not have my undivided attention.”
The love of my life is the Los Angeles Lakers. I love Phil & will always. It's not fair to him or Lakers to not have my undivided attention
— Jeanie Buss (@JeanieBuss) December 28, 2016
So reading between the lines, it was between the Lakers and Jackson for Buss. And the 55-year-old chose the Lakers about three years after Jackson, 71, chose the Knicks.
Love couldn’t conquer the Knicks.
The high-profile exes began dating in 1999 and got engaged four years ago, not long after Jackson was turned down for the vacant Lakers head coaching position by Jeanie’s brother, Jim Buss.
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Jackson then signed a five-year, $60 million deal with the Knicks and has mostly been a disappointment – along with a PR headache — amassing a 65-128 record while stubbornly trying to install his triangle offense.
Largely due to his relationship with Jeanie, Jackson has frequently been linked to a front-office position with the Lakers should he decide to bolt the Knicks. The breakup puts a damper on such a move. Perhaps not coincidentally, there was a report recently out of L.A. that Jackson is so committed to the Knicks that he is considering extending his current contract. The Lakers (12-22), meanwhile, have committed the space and time to new coach Luke Walton for a rebuild. A Jackson-Lakers reunion never seemed less plausible.