Jackson-Buss relationship addressed

Updated: March 21, 2014, 11:32 AM ET
By Darren Rovell and Ramona Shelburne | ESPN.com

An NBA official has acknowledged that the league has put parameters in place to make sure that the high-profile relationship between Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson doesn't create any issues.

"The Knicks' hiring of Phil Jackson is subject to the league's conflict of interest rules," NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN.com. "To avoid even the appearance of a conflict, we have addressed the issue with the Knicks and Lakers to ensure that the relationship between Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson will not affect how the teams operate."

[+] EnlargeJeanie Buss and Phil Jackson
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillThe NBA has spoken to Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson, who are engaged, about any potential conflicts of interest stemming from their roles as presidents of the Lakers and Knicks, respectively.

Buss, the Lakers' president and representative at board of governors meetings, and Jackson, who was named the Knicks' president on Tuesday, got engaged in December 2012. They've been dating since 1999.

Since the engagement, sources say the league has gotten more serious about the two being on the up and up.

Recently retired NBA commissioner David Stern had several conversations with Buss as Jackson entertained potential jobs with the Toronto Raptors, the potential Seattle franchise and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Buss acknowledged, in an interview that will air in its entirety on Time Warner Cable Sportsnet in Los Angeles on Wednesday, that she had dinner with new commissioner Adam Silver and the topic was broached.

"There is an understanding all trades are approved by the NBA, and I don't anticipate any problem because I don't make the basketball decisions on behalf of the Lakers," said Buss, who has indeed previously ceded all basketball decisions to her brother Jim and team general manager Mitch Kupchak. "So I really don't see where there would be a conflict."

But the league is sensitive to the impression of any impropriety. On Tuesday, Lakers forward Pau Gasol told reporters that he isn't allowed to talk to his former coach because he'll be a free agent and any talks with Jackson could be considered tampering.

Darren Rovell | email

ESPN.com Sports Business reporter

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