The Lakers have signed superstar coach Phil Jackson to a five-year, $30 million deal encouraging news for a team that hasn't played in a championship round since 1991 (when they lost to the Jackson-coached Chicago Bulls). They haven't won a championship since 1988. So the Business Journal asks:

Can Phil Jackson revive the Lakers?

Joel Adelman [picnm5-3]

Managing Principal

Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services

Unequivocally, provided he spends the time teaching a world-class center how to shoot free throws in the off-season. And he has the patience to make Kobe Bryant into a baby Jordan. As a longtime season-ticket holder, I welcome the new coach to again bring the team to the world-class status of champions.

Steve Crosby

Vice President of External Affairs

AT & T; Wireless

It's pretty simple: absolutely. The players and the fans and the owners have confidence in Phil Jackson, and perception is 90 percent of the game. Phil Jackson has an aura around him, having won the championships for Chicago and having played with the Knicks. He will propel the Lakers to where they want to be. He has the same aura as the Lakers had with Pat Riley, and that's really important it will help with Shaquille O'Neil. They are a great team and they have great talent. He's a leader and he will add that Vivarin that the team needs.

Mickey Bearman

President and Owner

Mickey Bearman Co.

Can you bring back someone who's dead? I think that if anyone can, he can, because he had that kind of experience with the Chicago Bulls. He was able to take several superstars and mold them into a cohesive unit that plays excellent basketball, both offensively and defensively, and he's a great fundamentalist. The Lakers need more than anything someone who will teach them how important rebounding and defense is, and how being a great shot or a great scorer will not get the job done. He had Pippin and Jordan and Rodman he had more headaches than the Lakers had. He molded them to work together as a unit. They have the talent, but they need to understand you have to work hard and play defense and rebound, and play position. If he can't do it, they're in trouble.

Catherine McDonald

Post-Production Supervisor

The Finish Line

Absolutely. He's really good with big egos and being able to walk that line. When he was with Chicago they had a lot of different all-star players and they all wanted more time to play, and somehow he was able to massage their egos. He'll be able to do that here. You know, Kobe and Shaquille are not getting along well off the court, and if no one pays attention to them, they won't get along on the court, either. He knows how to win and he used to be a Knick; which is also why I like him, I just moved here from New York, so I'm happy to have a team now.

Joe Bryant [picnm5-10]

Vice President & Trust Officer and Manager

Beverly Hills Trust Department, Pacific Bank N.A.

I hope so, I'm a Lakers fan of many years, and I'm looking forward to bigger and better things from them. Of course, I have a special interest because of my name. I get a lot of phone calls because Kobe Bryant's father's name is Joe.

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