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Laker fans face death of hope: Phil Jackson takes over Knicks

Phil Jackson takes in UCLA basketball game in Los Angeles with John Lithgow
Phil Jackson takes in UCLA basketball game in Los Angeles with John Lithgow
Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Tomorrow morning, Tuesday March 18, Phil Jackson will be trotted out in front of microphones at a press conference in N.Y. and introduced as the Knicks' savior.

Jackson signed his contract this weekend that will reportedly pay him $12 million a year for five years and make him the next president of the Knicks.

At that moment, Laker fans will all think they hear bells tolling as if there were a death in the family.

In truth there will be.

In the 1975 film "Love and Death" Woody Allen intones the line: "Marriage is the death of hope." In Los Angeles, losing the possibility of Phil Jackson riding to the rescue to save the sorry mess of a team that exists at this moment, is the death of hope.

While Phil floated free from any allegiance, other than to his fiancee Jeanie Buss, Executive Vice President of the Los Angeles Lakers, one could dream that he was in the family, ready to lend a hand or give advice.

That is gone now, and in some ways, it is better than waiting indefinitely for something to happen, as if by magic.

What does it all mean? It means starting from scratch and without any good reason to trust the Lakers brain trust.

Fans have learned that without Dr. Jerry Buss at the helm, it is impossible to have faith. GM Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss have not inspired much confidence, and to a certain extent that isn't fair.

They helped engineered the trade for Chris Paul, while Dr. Buss was gravely ill. They can't be held responsible for a David Stern veto that set up the Clippers as an LA powerhouse while setting the Lakers back.

They went out and got a then-healthy Steve Nash to play the pick-and-roll with Dwight Howard.

They are also part of the crew that left Phil Jackson swinging in the breeze by signing Mike D'Antoni, as coach, believing that he was the right man who along with his former star in Phoenix. could get the Lakers running and gunning again.

Two seasons later, Steve Nash's broken body was of no help to the team. It has been said that Dwight's lack of interest in running the D'Antoni system was just as important to his decision to skip town as playing alongside Kobe Bryant.

Hey, if Laker fans think they've got a problem, what about poor Jeanie Buss? Losing her guy to NY both in body and in spirit.

So, if you see fans wearing black armbands tomorrow don't be surprised. The death of hope is no fun.

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