The Los Angeles Lakers have replaced short lived former coach Mike Brown with Mike D’Antoni. The team signed former coach of the Suns and Knicks late Sunday night. The Lakers and D’Antoni’s agent, Warren LeGarie confirmed the deal two days after the Lakers fired Mike Brown only five games into the season.
D’Antoni agreed to a three year deal work $12 million, with a team option for a fourth season. D’Antoni received the job only after the club’s top brass extensively discussed the position with former coach of the 16 time NBA champions, Phil Jackson. Rumors flared that the former coach would come out of retirement to takeover the team. Jackson met with Lakers owners Jerry and Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak on Saturday to weigh a return for a third stint on the Los Angeles’ bench.
The Lakers instead went with D’Antoni, a respected offensive strategist who coached newly Laker Steve Nash in Phoenix during his best years of their respective careers. The coach was less successful with the New York Knikcks during his four seasons, but restored the once moribound Knicks to compentence before resigning last March
“Dr. Buss, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchack unanimously agreed that Mike was the best coach for this roster at this time,” stated Lakers spokesman John Black.
D’Antoni could be physically limited early in his tenure from knee replacement surgery early this month. Black said the Lakers are unsure when D’Antoni will be travel to Los Angeles to begin coaching.Interim coach Bernie Bickestaff will continue to run the Lakers until D’Antoni arrives. The team beat Sacramento 103-90 on Sunday night under Bickerstaff, a huge improvement from the 1-4 start under Mike Brown.
After Brown’s dismissal, both Nash and Kobe Bryant expressed their enthusiasm about the prospect of playing of D’Antoni, although Bryant eagerly campaigned for Jackson’s return.
Signed, Shanika Simmons