I hope it's Phil. Second choice would be Jerry Sloan. Push comes to shove, I could live with the overrated Nate McMillan -- but HELL NO to D'Antoni. His teams never play defense and always choke in the playoffs.
Jackson might not be an ideal fit; most of the core from when he last coached the team is gone, so he'd have to effectively re-install the triangle offense.
I don't think the number of guys who have played for Phil before is really a factor. Most new
(for a particular team) coaches don't have any players who have played for them before. But there are still Kobe, Ebanks, Pau, MWP, all either starters or rotational guys. As for the Triangle, Phil might decide to install it (if
he decides to install it) in small enough increments that it won't overwhelm the team. IMO, the Tri is not as complicated as the Princeton.
The triangle is pretty complicated and requires rigorous practice. Remember, Kobe Bryant came thisclose to demanding a trade because he fucking hated
the triangle. Steve Nash would also be wasted in the triangle, and Howard might have a hard time picking it up, too: It was really an anomaly that they made it to the Finals without Karl Malone ever learning it.
Sure, it's definitely less complicated than the Princeton, but that's like saying overhauling an engine is less complicated than putting a man on the moon -- there's still a lot of stuff going on, and the Lakers don't have the advantage of a training camp for a learning period: They'll have to adapt in the middle of a season (assuming Jackson gets the job).
It's also worth noting that Tex Winter isn't available to help in training, either.
The stuff about Phil and Jim Buss's relationship all stems from Phil's comment about their not having a relationship rather being about confrontations and wars of words. Jim and Kobe had no relationship up until last season when they finally sat down together and talked. After that, it was fine.
Buss pretty clearly resented the amount of input that Jackson had in Kupchak's personnel decisions, for what it's worth, and sources have been reporting that one of the conditions for him getting the job is that he'll have to accept a significantly reduced role over personnel. Word is that Jackson has said that he wants even more
input over personnel / organizational moves, and he wants a limited travel schedule (probably only sticking to West Coast swings, I would guess), so there are some philosophical issues to be worked out, there. The Lakers probably don't want to hire Phil Jackson and then wind up with Kurt Rambis running the team 50 percent of the time, which is why they're interviewing Mike Dunleavy tomorrow.
I'm not saying Jackson's a poor fit (he's probably the best fit); having grown up in Chicago and seen what he did with the Bulls, I think he's the greatest of all time. I'm just saying he'd be coming in and dealing with a very
different roster than he last worked with. That roster was built for Mike Brown's systems, not Phil Jackson's, so there will be some pains -- and they won't have a lot of time to get the ship righted, no matter whom they hire.
Edit: Jackson has told the team that he's pretty insistent on both the travel restrictions and the personnel thing, so both sides have agreed to table discussions for a couple of days; Lakers did a phone interview with D'Antoni today and are interviewing Mike Dunleavy tomorrow.