Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Girlfriend claims Jackson staying


Daughter of Lakers owner weighs in

The Associated Press

Jeanie Buss, the Lakers' executive vice president of business operations, told a radio interviewer there's a 95 percent chance coach Phil Jackson will return for a sixth year with the Lakers despite a season of uncertainty surrounding his future. Buss has plenty of insight: She's the daughter of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, and also Jackson's girlfriend.

Ever since the Lakers broke off contract talks last winter, Jackson has said he won't address his future until after the season.

When asked whether Jeanie's comments reflected any special knowledge, Jackson did not blink.

"No, she freelanced on it." he said.

NO EXPANSION YET: The NBA won't be expanding to Europe any time soon, commissioner David Stern indicated Tuesday at his annual NBA Finals news conference.

"With respect to international expansion, it's becoming clear to us that the infrastructure, meaning buildings, world-class arenas, are simply not there outside the United States yet," Stern said. "The fans in Europe have not been the beneficiaries of a building boom."

Stern noted that new arenas may be built over the next five years in London and Berlin, but that would not be enough to spur expansion across the Atlantic Ocean. Previously, Stern has been cautiously optimistic that expansion could come to Europe as early as the end of this decade.

"We need more than two venues, in my opinion, to have a successful European expansion," said Stern.

The commissioner also said the league is in discussions with the Walt Disney Co., to move one or two conference finals games off the company's cable network, ESPN, and onto its ABC broadcast network.

OWNER ON THE FLY: Forgive Bill Davidson if he's a little worn out. He has been crisscrossing the country in pursuit of an incredible feat. The Pistons' owner arrived in Los Angeles at about 4 a.m. Tuesday after watching one of his other teams, the Tampa Bay Lightning, win the Stanley Cup on the other side of the country.

If the Pistons can win four games against the Los Angeles Lakers, Davidson will pull off an unprecedented single-season sweep of the NBA and NHL titles. Davidson, 81, also owns the WNBA champion Detroit Shock.

The billionaire attended Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Los Angeles on Sunday before traveling to Florida to see the Lightning's clincher. It's rumored that the Stanley Cup will show up at The Palace of Auburn Hills Sunday for the Pistons' Game 3.




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Girlfriend claims Jackson staying

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