Lakers hire Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson in shocking move

The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off a stunner Sunday night by reportedly signing Mike D’Antoni to become the team’s next head coach, not Phil Jackson.

The Lakers fired Mike Brown on Friday, five games into his second season with the team. The Lakers went 41-25 in the shortened season under Brown last season before losing to the Thunder in the Western Conference Semifinals. They revamped the roster by adding former two-time MVP Steve Nash, and former Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard. But as the team went 0-8 in the preseason, and looked terrible while going 1-4 in the regular season, they quickly canned Brown.

It seemed like Phil Jackson would step in as the team’s savior — and the interest between both sides seemed mutual — but the Lakers instead opted for D’Antoni, signing him to a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year. Jackson knew the Lakers were desperate and reportedly was trying to take advantage of the situation.

Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears reports that Jackson “was seeking greater personnel control, a relaxed travel schedule and a two-year contract that would pay him at least $10 million a season.”

The Lakers apparently balked at what could be considered a power play by Jackson, and they instead went with D’Antoni, who resigned as head coach of the New York Knicks last season.

It may seem like a sweet deal for D’Antoni on the surface, but I would be worried if I were him.

D’Antoni is stepping into a situation where there is a high demand to win now. Heck, he just saw Mike Brown fired after five games. The same fate could easily await him.

D’Antoni likes to run a high-temp offense that puts his point guard in control. It’s the type of offense that could take some time to implement, especially after the Lakers were learning the Princeton offense. The players will be forced to learn his system during the regular season rather than training camp, which could lead to more losses. Additionally, though Kobe Bryant loves D’Antoni because he that was his favorite player when he was growing up in Italy, Mike’s offense will likely put the ball in Steve Nash’s hands more. I can’t imagine that will go over well with Kobe.

D’Antoni and Nash is a magical pairing, but taking the ball away from Kobe could result in a disaster. I just don’t think D’Antoni is stepping into a good situation.

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  • Gene

    Good decision for the Lakers.  It would be easier for Nash and Howard to play in D’Antoni’s system, and it should be much easier for Kobe and Pao to learn it.  Kobe and Pao play different systems in international ball and other all star groupings. The triangle is a read and react system and Howard would have a hard time with it while Nash would be superfluous. 

    Nash will not play the whole game and Kobe may well wind up with the ball in his hands more frequently than you think.  If Kobe wants to win, this system gives him his best chance.

    You are right about D’Antoni being in a pressure cooker, but I also think the Buss family would love a return to showtime, which they consider the most successful period in Laker history not  for the titles but  for fan enthusiasm mixed with titles.

  • mike22122

    as a non-lakers fan, I think they did just fine getting d’antoni.  i hope they just give him a chance, although L.A. seems to be addicted to instant gratification.