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Jackson staying put

LOS ANGELES, July 2 – Phil Jackson will return as Lakers coach next season, putting off retirement for at least one more year to pursue a 12th NBA title."Count me in," Jackson said in a news release on Thursday. "After a couple weeks of deliberation, it is time to get back to the challenge of putting together a team that can defend its title in the 2010-11 season. It’ll be the last stand for me, and I hope a grand one."

Jackson, 64, had said last week he was "leaning toward" retirement after guiding the Lakers to a second straight NBA crown.

But the chance of three-peat proved too alluring once he’d had a chance to get some rest at his off-season home in Montana.

Jackson is the winningest coach in playoff history and the most successful coach in league history by almost any measure.

He has a .705 regular-season winning percentage, a record 225 playoff victories and two more titles than Boston’s Red Auerbach.

He has guided Kobe Bryant and the Lakers to five titles overall, and won six with Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.

"We’re extremely pleased that Phil has decided to return," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said. "He’s not only the best coach for this team, but quite simply the best coach in the history of the NBA."

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