When Phil Jackson did not get the Lakers job, a number of people were upset. The media, most especially, as Jackson is a reporter's dream. Pau Gasol, second, because he wants things to magically be like they were in 2010. The fans, third, because you can count the rings. And Dwight Howard quietly expressed a bit of disappointment. Jackson is beloved by players and the kind of coach that Howard likely has always wanted to play for.
You know, one who won't actually demand much from him.
Jackson takes a hands-off approach with his players, especially his stars, believing much more in letting things work themselves out. The triangle offense would feed the post, where Howard (mistakenly) thinks his game is strongest. So when that didn't happen, Howard put on a good face but did express some disappointment.
And his desire for a connection to the Zenmaster apparently lingered. From ESPN LA:
"I've had people really just help me out," Howard said. "Guys like Phil [Jackson], he texts me and he understands how it is to come off back surgery. He just said it takes a full year to recover, so you can't beat yourself up over the things that have happened this year."
Well, that's awfully nice of Phil. To reach out and help a younger player dealing with a similar condition that he went through. That's great.
But that's also a would-be coach texting with the player that he would have coached. There have been a lot of rumblings that Howard doesn't like Mike D'Antoni, to the point that some think D'Antoni is an obstacle to Howard re-signing in L.A.
This isn't a big deal, but it's worth noting. Jackson has said publicly he doesn't want to coach again, and it's almost impsosible to see Jackson being willing to come back and help the Lakers, just as it's unlikely the team would pay off D'Antoni to go away on top of Mike Brown. But it's one more way that Jackson remains relevant. And just as much so, it shows Howard seeking out the people who will support him no matter what and not throw any of the criticism that he seems to reject so plainly his way.