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Report: Phil Jackson, Mike D’Antoni leading candidates for Lakers head coaching spot

Nov 9, 2012, 9:44 PM EDT

Phil Jackson AP

Hours after the Lakers informed Mike Brown he was out as head coach in Los Angeles, the team has already narrowed its search to two candidates.

The names are familiar, and are the two who would each seem to make perfect sense for their own reasons.

Phil Jackson and Mike D’Antoni are atop the Lakers’ wish list to replace Brown as head coach, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles. The process is expected to move quickly, and will move beyond those two if there’s no mutual interest.

The Lakers are expected to reach out to both men as early as Saturday morning, as well as several other candidates. They’d like to move quickly through this process as interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff has only committed to working a few games.

“It’s not going to be a long process; that’s for damn sure,” a source told “But they’re going to do their due diligence.”

A meeting with Jackson could happen by the end of the weekend.

Jackson certainly has the pedigree, winning championships with Kobe Bryant five times during two separate coaching campaigns with the Lakers. He left on his own after the team failed in its three-peat bid in 2011, where L.A. was unexpectedly and unceremoniously swept out of the second round of the playoffs by the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks.

Mike D’Antoni was responsible for some of the most successful recent seasons in Phoenix, where he was Steve Nash‘s head coach running the Seven Seconds or Less offense that resulted in two MVPs for Nash in the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

The concern with Jackson would be whether he still has the desire, and the concern with D’Antoni has always been defense.

We’ll see if the Lakers can coerce either man back to the bench, but whether they can or can’t, expect the decision to come down just as soon as they can lock up someone whose name appears on that very short list.

  1. nepo784 - Nov 9, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Kobe can’t win without Phil

    • money2long - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:06 PM

      i was wondering what people would use against kobe after he won without shaq

    • camnellum12 - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      This is kinda unrelated, but I doubt Jordan would’ve won a ring without Phil Jackson (no bashing here), and it sounds crazy, but realized he had to believe in Phil’s offense and philosophy in order to bring out the best in his teammates and become a great team leader (read The Jordan Rules). Same situation for Kobe, he’s a ball stopping wing player who needed an offense where he can play off the ball, but get his iso’s if he needs/wants to. I think this is why Phil Jackson’s name was brought up about the Knicks, because the ball stopping wing player there needs to learn how to facilitate and bring the best out of his teammates. It’s a reason why Phil Jackson is so enamored by a lot of fans and player alike, he takes your game and confidence to new heights!

    • tfoz5150 - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:09 AM

      Neither could Jordan…

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:30 PM

      Hotdammit I knew fools like you would come out the woodworks and say some stupid ish like that! That’s exactly the reason I DON’T want Phil back. I don’t want to hear that sht, ever. And then you get the other extremist saying, “well, Phil only won all those championships cause he had Kobe, Mike, Shaq, etc., etc.”

  2. BigBeachBall - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    if the Lakers wanted dantoni, van gundy, scott, or sloan or any of the types….. they would have fired Brown in the offseason and installed whoever then….the dramatic firing of MB part way through the season can only mean one thing…. the return of the zen master….hide your kids…

  3. dabears212 - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    Pringles or KFC? It’s up to you Kupchak…

  4. Mr. Wright 212 - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    PLEASE NO DUMBTONI. He ruined my home team and would ruin my other team.

    • jedifriedchicken - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:16 AM

      Jim Dolan ruined your dumb team. If only he had allowed Walsh to finish the job he had hired him to do.

  5. ihavenonickname - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    Watch out NBA… HE’S COMIN BACK!!

    • ihavenonickname - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:21 PM

      Zen master

      • mazblast - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        Oh god, here comes the Zen bullsh**, the intimidation of the officials, and the enigmatic “I know more than you ever will” statements to the press.

  6. kcbaby58 - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    13 outta 14 articles all about the same thing!!! I’m done with pro basketball talk. What a waste of time.

    • jedifriedchicken - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:17 AM

      Don’t let the door bump your ass on the way out.

    • manchestermiracle - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:06 AM

      Kinda like your post.

  7. steelerdynasty2010 - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    Paging Mr. Brian Shaw.

  8. pistol7pete - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Phil’s already in town, might as well coach a few games.

  9. rj2323 - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Bring back Jackson!!!!!!

  10. letangusespertplus - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    P Jax knows this team can’t win, he won’t come back to coach another 2nd round exit worthy team.

  11. ninthwardfriend - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    I would like to see zen master coach up some young raw talent. H e get’s a little to much credit!!!!

  12. chargerdillon - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    Jordan and Kobe rings with Phil: 11
    Jordan and Kobe rings without Phil: 0

    Championships won by Phil: 11
    Championships won by D’Antoni: 0

    Cost to retain Phil: 10+ mill
    Cost to retain D’Antoni: 2+ mill

    Additional cost in firing Mike Brown: WAY TOO MUCH

    Buss wont pay 10+ mill with already having to pay Browns contract

    Money talks D’Antoni come on down

  13. lawest111 - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    Phil, please come back. If only for your press conferences it’s worth the money. Oh, the Lakers are a billion dollar organization who just fired a coach owed 11MM, I think the money for Phil is not the issue.

  14. dannythebisforbeast - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Give me Kobe Dwight Howard and Nash healthy I guarantee western conference finals and I never played past. 8th grade.
    Lebron got mike brown his job.

  15. dannythebisforbeast - Nov 9, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Where’s Larry brown?

    • tfoz5150 - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      He doesn’t jump right into “Ready made championship” situations, like some other coaches, uh hem…he actually builds them up from within

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      Where he belongs….at home!!

  16. btwicey - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    And we have a winner for most misleading headline of the year. I wonder if they even know what Phil’s new mobile number is? He’s probably sippin a cocktail having a laugh at all the speculation.

  17. sportsfan83 - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    What are the Lakers gonna do when Phil isn’t in any condition to coach? It seems like every time you guys don’t produce or are in panic mode Phil is on speed dial. Sorry but Phil isn’t always gonna be around to bail you guys out.

  18. philtration - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    This is one of the saddest days in NBA history and I just want to tell the Laker fans that we all support you in these trying times.

    Just kidding.
    Please continue to and whine about this season just as much as you bragged about it before a single game was played.

  19. BigBeachBall - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Insiders already know phil jackson is returning next week…

  20. hoodheisman - Nov 10, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Everything points to Phil. He won’t turn down a squad with 4 all-stars. For those that dont have access to Time Warner cable, on tonights telecast they mentioned that those close to Phil say that his health is fine and that he’s been watching the Lakers closely this year.

    The Lakers probably don’t have the athleticism to adjust to D’Antoni’s system, but they do have all the pieces in place to run the Triangle. The key is the Lakers desire to win now. They’ll adapt to the Triangle quicker than any other system. Last time I checked, Phil is still dating the owner’s daughter / sister.

    Welcome back Phil.

    • tfoz5150 - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      it’ll be just like 2004 all over again!

  21. redstar504 - Nov 10, 2012 at 5:00 AM

    I could not agree more this is all about phil and has been since the offseason. They knew going in that Brown couldn’t successfully manage the talent they had amassed. They kept him but I am sure they had Jackson’s number at the ready. Only the Zen Master himself can get Kobe/Nash/Howard/Gasol to work. Another shocker watch Lamar get pulled back in some kind of way.

    I am sure this was the plan from day one build it and he will come so to speak except no corn and Kevin Costner.
    If Phil does indeed reappear the playoff picture just got a lot more interesting. Now lets just see if he takes the bait.

    Enjoy your final moments in the sun Lakers because my Hornets are going to be taking over soon Anthony Davis is a beast, as soon as this last run is over it’s our time to shine!!! (Sorry had to get that shameless plug in for the home team who is looking pretty sharp but a ways to go)

    As for LA they got no ways to go if they net Jackson they’re there now . Miami is gonna have some real competition come this summer.

  22. bobbyboucheh20 - Nov 10, 2012 at 5:38 AM

    And the west coast Yankees in discussions about the return of Billy Martin….L.A. quickly becoming a joke of an organization….

  23. davidly - Nov 10, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    It would appear that Lakers’ fans would rather have PJ suffer through their self-made soap opera than admit they have no chance of winning it all this year.

  24. wfon1 - Nov 10, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    As a Laker fan, i obviously want Phil Jackson back.
    But what about Jerry Sloan?
    I think he deserves this shot at a ring.
    He’s defenitely paid his dues.

  25. omniusprime - Nov 10, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    I have my doubts about Phil Jackson coming back because he seemed pretty certain about retiring because of health issues, he just didn’t want to take on all that travel with his bad legs. I hope he does come back as he has proven he is the greatest coach of all sports of all time!

    No D’Antoni please. What did this clown ever accomplish except the premature ejaculation offense that never won the Suns a championship. Championship teams don’t throw up shots every 7 seconds, even the Showtime Lakers didn’t do that nonsense though they could score quickly on their patented fast breaks started by their defense.

    If not Phil then please Jerry Sloan. Jerry has proved throughout his career he could take inferior talent at Utah and turn them into contenders year after year. I have no doubt that Jerry would be a stern taskmaster and disciplinarian who could take the Lakers to the promised land of more championships.

    Ha Ha Clueless Clown Brown, You’re Fired!!!!

    • 00maltliquor - Nov 10, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      D’Antoni didn’t take the Suns to a championship because Kobe Bryant and the Lakers and Tim Duncan and the Spurs always blocked the entrance. Nothing he could have done about that. Sometimes some teams are just too dominate.

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