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