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Jackson leans toward retiring

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Lakers coach Phil Jackson is leaning toward retirement, and will make his final decision next week.

The 11-time NBA champion said Wednesday he'll get the results of another battery of medical tests before deciding whether to end his matchless coaching career, but Jackson sounds increasingly likely to head for retirement after the Lakers' second straight title.

"Some of it's about health," Jackson said. "Some of it is just the way I feel right now. It's hard not to think about coming back … but it's what I feel like right now."

After going through exit interviews with his players at the Lakers' training complex, Jackson, 64, gave the strongest indication yet that he's ready to walk away.

Jackson is the winningest playoff coach in NBA history, with 225 postseason victories and two more titles than Boston's Red Auerbach. The Lakers beat the Celtics in a seven-game NBA Finals last week for the franchise's 16th championship.

The Lakers uniformly said they want Jackson back next season, with Kobe Bryant saying the club would be "drastically different" without Jackson's steady, cerebral presence.

Jackson said he mostly wants to get away from the grind of travel and the nine-month season.

Yet Jackson acknowledges he's intrigued by the possibility of going for a third consecutive championship for the fourth time in his career.

"My intention was that if we won the second time, to go for a threepeat would be natural," Jackson said. "It would be tough not to go for another championship in that threepeat realm, which is ridiculous. That's one of those things that's sitting out there that's still a fly in the ointment."

Hornets' Paul willing to talk about trade

Guard Chris Paul said he's open to a trade if the Hornets aren't committed to winning championships.

"My first choice is to be in New Orleans,'' Paul said from London. "I just want to make sure we're committed to winning. If we're not committed to winning and trying to get better so we can contend with the Lakers, the Celtics and all these other top teams, then I'm open to being traded.''

Ownership sharply discounted the possibility of a trade.

"Chris Paul is the cornerstone of our franchise and brings us unequaled support on and off the court," majority owner George Shinn said in a statement. "We will continue to build around Chris Paul."

Bulls: The team introduced Tom Thibodeau as its 18th coach.

Heat: The team traded shooting guard Daequan Cook and the No. 18 pick in tonight's draft to the Thunder in exchange for the No. 32 pick, clearing about $3.4 million in salary cap space.

Bol funeral set: The funeral for former NBA player and humanitarian Manute Bol will be held Tuesday in Washington, D.C. The service will be open to the public. Mr. Bol died Saturday at age 47 in Charlottesville, Va., after suffering from severe kidney problems and a painful skin condition.

Jackson leans toward retiring 06/23/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 10:02pm]
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