Wednesday, June 23, 1999
Phil Jackson, seen here during his days as the
Bulls' head coach, will likely be a big draw as
the Lakers' new coach this year, which may be
one reason the team will not be training in Hawaii.
New coach Phil JacksonBy Pat Bigold
will not bring Los Angeles
to the islands for training
camp next season
The Los Angeles Lakers will not be camping in Hawaii this year, a club spokesman confirmed yesterday.
The club was supposed to hold its training camp here and play two exhibitions in the fall of 1998. But the NBA lockout wiped out that plan.
It was thought the Lakers would make up for that by returning this year.
"We will be finding a site in southern California," said public relations director John Black by phone.
Black said there is a possibility the club will return to Hawaii next year for camp and exhibitions, but he would not go into why the Lakers are staying in their home state this year.
"There's nothing negative toward Hawaii about this decision," he said.
The Lakers held their last training camp in Hawaii in 1996. They sold out two preseason games against the Denver Nuggets in what was then called the Special Events Arena. Shaquille O'Neal made his debut in a Lakers uniform that year.
"I know the owner (Jerry Buss) likes Hawaii and so does (executive vice president) Jerry West, so I would think the Lakers will be back," said Hawaii basketball coach Riley Wallace.
"But opening up at home with Phil Jackson will probably make more money for them."
Wallace said he is certain Jackson's presence on the bench would have sold out the Stan Sheriff Center.
"I think a good possibility is that they will be coming here every other year," he said.
Russ Francis, sports coordinator for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, said he would be surprised if there is no NBA camp and preseason series here next year. Francis said he plans to be in contact with the Lakers and other NBA teams about coming here.
Hawaii athletic director Hugh Yoshida said last year that the school gets close to $12,000 from the Lakers for use of its facilities.