Doc Rivers: Lakers embarrassed Phil Jackson, he was owed more than that
The Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching change situation that took place a little over a week ago was about as bizarre as it gets. The fact that it occurred just a handful of games into the regular season made it even stranger. As you know, the Lakers eventually settled on Mike D’Antoni as their next head coach after firing Mike Brown. Whether D’Antoni was the right choice or not, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers feels that the Lakers disrespected Phil Jackson.
“I didn’t like the way it was done,” Rivers told Chris Russo of SiriusXM Radio’s Mad Dog Radio, via the L.A. Times. “I don’t think you embarrass anybody.
“Whether you like Phil or not, he’s won a lot of titles and I think he was owed more than that treatment, in my opinion, especially (from) that franchise.”
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak recently said the decision to go with D’Antoni over Jackson was strictly a “basketball decision.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but like a lot of others Rivers feels that the Lakers were wrong to essentially offer the job to Jackson and then rescind their offer when he accepted.
As Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk mentioned, Kupchak basically confirmed that the Lakers never expected Jackson to accept the offer since he made it quite clear he was done coaching basketball. They had to make the offer to appease Lakers fans, but the situation got sticky when Jackson agreed to come out of retirement and owner Jim Buss was already set on D’Antoni being his guy. Even D’Antoni admitted he was stunned he got the job, which is all part of the embarrassment for Jackson that Rivers is referring to.