The Lakers have spoken to 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson about returning for a third stint on their bench. The Lakers confirmed on their website Saturday that Jackson discussed the job with owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak. Los Angeles fired coach Mike Brown on Friday after a 1-4 start to a season of enormous expectations. Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff led the Lakers to a blowout win over Golden State a few hours after Brown was dismissed in his second season. Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard both said they would be eager to play for Jackson, who walked away from the Lakers into retirement in 2011. “I can’t imagine this not working out,” a source told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard. “Phil’s health is fine now. He likes this Lakers team.” Jackson will meet again with Lakers’ brass this week. Bickerstaff will coach the club in a home game against Sacramento on Sunday.
McHale taking a leave of absence
Rockets coach Kevin McHale has taken a leave of absence to deal with a family matter, reported by the Houston Chronicle to concern his ill daughter. There is no timetable for the return of the second-year coach and Celtics Hall of Famer, who will be replaced on an interim basis by assistant Kelvin Sampson. ‘‘Kevin is a devoted family man who is needed back home in Minnesota at the moment,” said Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
NHL owners, union can dine together
The NHL and the NHL Players Association weren’t quite ready to return to the bargaining table, but they put aside their differences long enough to at least have lunch together. After negotiations hit a rough spot Friday on the fourth straight day of talks during the lockout, the sides stayed apart through the early part of Saturday. But they remained in contact during the day before meeting for a small, informal lunch in the afternoon . . . Canadiens forward Blake Geoffrion remained in a Montreal hospital after taking a hit Friday night while playing for the team’s AHL Hamilton affiliate. Geoffrion, 24, underwent surgery for treatment of a depressed skull fracture . . . Behind goals by Kendall Coyne, Hilary Knight, and Anne Schleper, the US women’s team won its second straight Four Nations Cup title with a 3-0 victory over Canada in Tikkurila, Finland.
Dodgers are awarded rights to pitcher
The Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization accepted a posting fee of $25.7 million from the Dodgers for the right to negotiate with 25-year-old lefthander Ryu Hyun-jin. The Dodgers have 30 days to work out a contract with Ryu and his agent, Scott Boras. Ryu pitched for his country on the team that won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 . . . The Nationals will bring back Davey Johnson for one more season as manager before he becomes a consultant for the club in 2014.
Beljan leaves hospital, keeps the lead
One day after he spent five hours in a hospital, Charlie Beljan returned to Disney in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., with only an hour of sleep and concern that he might face another day of a racing heart and shortness of breath. Despite an anxiety attack that spun out of control, Beljan managed an 8-under-par 64 that gave him a three-shot lead in the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. He said doctors ran a battery of tests and found nothing wrong . . . Inbee Park moved into position for her third victory of the year, shooting a 6-under 66 for a 15-under 201 total and a two-stroke lead heading into the final round of the LPGA Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico. Cristie Kerr (67) was second . . . Matteo Manassero shot a 7-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round of the rain-delayed Singapore Open. Louis Oosthuizen was second after a 65. Chris Wood was another stroke back after a 70.
Klitschko retains heavyweight crowns
Wladimir Klitschko (59-3, 51 KOs) retained his WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles, unanimously outpointing Poland’s Mariusz Wach (27-1) in Hamburg, Germany . . . Juan Martin del Potro clinched the last spot in the semifinals of the ATP finals in London, beating two-time defending champion Roger Federer, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3, in their final round-robin match. Federer had already qualified for the semifinals . . . Danica Patrick has decided not to race in the Indianapolis 500 next season because it would be a distraction to her NASCAR efforts.