Head coach Phil Jackson didn't want to go out this way.
With the hopes of winning an NBA title in his final season as Lakers' head coach, Jackson instead bowed out of perhaps the best coaching job in sports by getting swept by the Mavericks in the Western Conference semi-finals.
More than likely, Jackson isn't done with the Lakers.
The Lakers are on the verge of announcing Mike Brown as the head coach, but it's hard to believe that Jackson won't be a part of the organization, even in retirement.
With Jerry West recently hired as an adviser and a member of the Golden State Warriors' executive board, that may close the door on West coming back to the Lakers, and keeps the door open to Jackson. The Zen Master will probably take some time off to go back to living in bliss like he did the first time he retired from coaching the Lakers.
But Jackson will be back. At age 65, his coaching days are probably over, but he will remain with the Lakers organization in some capacity. He will serve as a mentor to Brown, and go public with his thoughts about the team, with or without the team's blessing.
Jackson has strong ties to the Lakers, and the team values his insight. When the Lakers struggled during the season that followed Jackson's departure in 2004-2005, there was early talk that Jackson would return.
Rudy Tomjanovich, Jackson's successor, abruptly decided to call it quits due to health problems, and was replaced by interim head coach Frank Hamblen. There was speculation even then, just months removed from Jackson's retirement, that he would return.
Instead, Jackson returned the following season, and is only now contemplating full-time retirement. It's that type of commitment to the team that makes Jackson's loyalty to the organization, and their loyalty to him, so unwavering.
Kobe Bryant has many more years left with the team, and wants Jackson to stick around. The two have had their differences in the past, but a new understanding has grown between them after hard times, and a solid bond has formed.
There's also the issue of his girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, who is the daughter of Lakers' owner Jerry Buss. They have been together for about a decade, and
Jackson has broad interests, but his main interest has always seemed to be success.
Jackson would love to continue being a part of the Lakers' lofty goals.