by Marcel Mutoni

Health permitting, Phil Jackson will be back on the Laker bench next season, as L.A. begins its title defense. The Zen Master may just not be there all the time.

Phil told a radio station that he might skip some road games in the ’10 season, and have his trustee assistant coach Kurt Rambis handle coaching duties in hostile environments. Rambis, who recently interviewed for head coaching gigs elsewhere, likes the sound of the idea.

From the LA Times:

Jackson has had two hip-replacement surgeries, an angioplasty and gout during his two stints coaching the Lakers. Rambis said the idea is to keep Jackson healthy for the long run and physically fit so the Lakers have a better chance at defending the championship they just won.

“Everybody benefits,” Rambis said. “Phil remains fresh without having the season and the travel wear him down. It gives me valuable coaching experience. What the future holds beyond Phil, I don’t know. But this keeps continuity of what we’re doing, what we do defensively and offensively.”

This would certainly be an interesting little experiment for Jackson and the team. He could presumably get his health in order during the season, while still earning every penny from his $12mil/yr contract.

Nice work, if you can get it.