Trying to get to the bottom of pay-cut story on Phil Jackson
Michael Wilbon is a media giant, blabbermouth co-host of PTI, while also
working alongside ESPN basketball expert Magic Johnson at times, an
occasional column for the Washington Post and a guest this week on Tony
Kornheiser’s radio show in Washington, D.C.
Wilbon has so much to say, there’s no problem believing him when he
says. "I have no idea what I said on the radio."
But someone taped him talking authoritatively about the $7-million pay cut he says Phil Jackson will have to accept to remain with the Lakers, and Wednesday, KTLA’s Steve Hartman played it on TV here for everyone.
"I was told yesterday," Wilbon says, "that Phil Jackson’s been told that not only will he not be making $12 million next year, it’s going to be a $5-million cap on his salary."
If that’s true, there’s probably no chance of Jackson returning to coach the Lakers.
So is it true?
"Phil, we have Michael Wilbon here," I said during Jackson’s press briefing prior to Game 2. "He said on the radio in the last day or so you’ve been told you will have to take a pay cut and the pay cut will be down to $5 million. Have you been told that?"
Jackson replied with good humor, "You know, I don’t know where these rumors come from."
That’s when I pointed to the media giant who was standing, albeit shrinking right beside me.
"Well, they come from here, from Michael Wilbon," I said, while pointing to the troublemaker.
Jackson said, "Ask Michael where they came from, don’t ask me."
I presumed he meant Wilbon and not Jordan, and later Wilbon would say he talked to "multiple sources, in this case two," and "they weren’t media."
I had a hunch he doesn’t talk to Plaschke, or watch "Around the Horn" for that matter.