The Los Angeles Lakers have taken heat from a number of people over the way they handled their coaching change situation earlier this month, and Charles Barkley is one of the latest. Barkley said he is a fan of Mike D’Antoni as a coach, but he disagrees with the way the Lakers treated Phil Jackson.
“Well, I just thought they disrespected Phil Jackson,” Barkley told The Mike Lupica Show on 98.7 ESPN New York. “Mike D’Antoni is a very good coach. But you could just tell they are not going to hire Phil Jackson. I just thought they disrespected him, to be honest with you. If you look at all the background, they told him to think about the job, but they were interviewing Mike D’Antoni on the side. They clearly weren’t going to give him a choice to make a decision, so they should have treated him better.”
Doc Rivers shared almost the exact same thoughts as Barkley, and their opinion seems to be a popular one. Jackson won multiple championships with L.A., and most feel as though the Lakers could have handled the situation better. As for D’Antoni being the man for the job, Barkley believes he’s going to have to change his style for the Lakers to succeed.
“Mike D’Antoni is going to have to change,” Barkley said. “That team is old. Kobe is old. Steve Nash is old. Ron Artest is old. They are not going to be able to play his style. He’s going to have to change his style as a coach. Like I said, Steve Nash got hurt running up and down the court. He can’t play like he did eight to nine years ago and he ran that system. … Only thing that is going to be hurting Los Angeles is going to be a bunch of pulled hamstrings and groins if they try to play that fast.”
Barkley may have a point. D’Antoni’s up-tempo offense is perfect for making stars out of young players like Jeremy Lin, but will he have to adjust in order to win with aging veterans and superstars? The Lakers won’t have a ton of time to figure it out.
Thanks to Sports Radio Interviews for transcribing the interview
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