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Did UCLA Call Phil Jackson to Be a Consultant on its Coaching Search and Then Pass When He Wanted to Be Paid?

TJ Simmers delivered a lovely UCLA basketball tidbit over the weekend: Bruins AD Dan Guerrero reached out to legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson for some help with the coaching search. And Jackson, arguably the best coach in NBA history, was more than willing to offer his expert opinion!

This apparently happened after the Bruins were rejected by Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart.

What Guerrero did next is either perplexing or typical, given your take on UCLA’s notorious habit for doing things on the cheap. From the LA Times:

Jackson’s agent told Guerrero what it would cost to hire him as consultant. As part of the discussion, UCLA hoped to count on Jackson meeting with recruits later to help the new coach in his work.

Guerrero told Jackson’s agent he would take the holiday weekend before putting the deal together.

Guerrero never got back to Jackson’s agent and on Saturday hired Steve Alford.

So basically UCLA freaked out about having to pay Jackson a consultant fee, panicked, and like a guy drunk in a bar at 2 am, Guerreo grabbed a warm body that looked good under dark lighting.

Did Guerrero get nervous about Steve Alford’s buyout going up to $1 million after April 1st? That’s what it feels like.

As noted Saturday, when Alford was hired – he’s got two NCAA Tournament wins in 14 seasons as a head coach. Alford’s teams have been a Top 5 seed three different times in March, and he’s never reached the Sweet 16.

 

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