Phil Jackson

Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, shown with fiancee Jeanie Buss in 2007, says the late Jerry Buss made the final decision on hiring Mike D'Antoni as coach of the Lakers in 2012. (Noah Graham / NBA via Getty Images)

When the Lakers hired Coach Mike D'Antoni in November 2012, they made their decision soon after an interview with Phil Jackson.

Jackson expected to have the opportunity to either accept or reject the position, but the Lakers chose to go in a completely different direction.

In an interview with USA Today, Jackson said he believes the final say came down to the team's then-owner, the late Jerry Buss.

"When I left [the interview], [Lakers owner/executive] Jimmy [Buss] was pretty happy about it and [General Manager] Mitch [Kupchak] was still saying, 'We're going to keep interviewing people,' and I think the ultimate [decision] kind of rested with Dr. Buss and he made the decision in the hospital the day after," said Jackson.

Jerry Buss passed away in February 2013 due to cancer-related complications.

The Lakers had fired Mike Brown after just five games into the 2012-13 season.

While Jackson is engaged to Lakers co-owner/executive Jeanie Buss, he doesn't have much of any influence on the franchise's basketball decisions.

"Mitch, obviously has a relationship with Jimmy that has been going on since I think 2004 or so, when he started becoming really involved," said Jackson. "So for the last 10 years, he and Mitch have been pretty much working together."

Does Jackson feel he has a place in the Lakers' front office?

"They've got a relationship, so I don't see that happening," he said.

Decimated by injury, the Lakers are currently 21-39 on the season, well out of playoff range. But the team will have significant spending power over the next few summers.

Jackson singled out a free-agent target for the team, and the possibility of the Lakers keeping Pau Gasol beyond his current contract.

"There's a limited free-agent market this year. Luol Deng, and Pau Gasol is going to be a free agent — they can re-sign their own guy, which I don't know if Pau would like to re-sign with them or not," said Jackson.  "Maybe he feels that's not the best place, but he likes L.A., he likes the fans."

Deng is in the last year of his contract, playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers after a recent trade from the Chicago Bulls.

Jackson isn't sure the Lakers will invest heavily this summer.

"I think the Lakers will probably stay pretty pat," he said. "They can look and see if they can't get a core group of young players playing together.  Trust the fact that Mike [D'Antoni] can kind of blend a gun-and-run and run-and-gun team."

D'Antoni still has two years left on his contract, although the last year (for the 2015-16 season) is a team option.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.