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Ron Harper doesn’t think Phil Jackson signed off on Lakers hiring Frank Vogel

Phil Jackson, Frank Vogel, Ron Harper

The Los Angeles Lakers are hiring Frank Vogel to be their next head coach, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says “the influence of Phil Jackson and Kurt Rambis weighs heavily in the Vogel hiring.” Specifically, Woj notes that the Lakers currently aren’t planning to distinguish between the top assistant coach and the rest of the coaching staff, which is “the Phil Jackson model” of putting together a staff.

There have also been other rumblings of Jackson and Rambis continuing to have a major influence with the Lakers. However, five-time NBA champion Ron Harper is disputing the idea that Jackson signed off on Vogel as the head coach:

Harper played for Jackson during the Bulls’ second three-peat and was then a part of the Lakers’ titles in 2000 and 2001. Harper also publicly showed faith in Jackson during his failed stint as president of the New York Knicks, so there’s a lengthy relationship there.

While Harper is emphatically disputing Jackson’s role in this coaching search, it’s hard to deny all of the other noise coming out of Los Angeles. At the very least, it seems clear Rambis is still playing a major role in decision-making, and Rambis is a Jackson disciple.

Also, we can’t forget that Jackson and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss were together for a while. While they may have split, Buss surely still trusts Jackson when it comes to basketball-related decisions. Even if Phil didn’t explicitly sign off on the coaching hire, his influence seems to have indeed played a role here.