When the Lakers called to tell Jackson that they had instead chosen Mike D'Antoni to be their next head coach, he was "stunned," according to the source, because he had been under the impression "it was his job to turn down" although no formal offer had ever been made.
Reports indicated Jackson was set to make a decision on Monday on whether he'd return to his high chair on the Laker bench, with most feeling he was leaning toward accepting an offer. With a intriguing roster built around a bunch of talent, it seemed as if it would be impossible for Jackson to say no.
Instead, it was the Lakers saying no as they went with D'Antoni, reportedly believing that his system was a better fit.
D'Antoni, who has a relationship with Nash and has coached both Howard and Kobe for Team USA, is known an offensive guru.
A report in the LA Times said that Jackson "wanted the moon" from the Lakers, likely including big salary requests, more control over the team and a special travel schedule. But the Lakers went in another direction.
Jackson and the Lakers had never spoken about a salary, the source said, "but he knew coaches don't make what he used to make anymore." He also never intended to miss any more road games than he had in his previous stints with the Lakers.
"Phil would come back only to win and skipping games doesn't lead to winning," the source said.
However, Jackson had wanted more say over basketball decisions, another source said.
Jackson got told no. Maybe for the first time ever.