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Phil Jackson out of picture, Mike D’Antoni signs to be Lakers new coach

Nov 12, 2012, 3:47 AM EDT

Mike D'Antoni

At Staples Center Sunday night, it felt around the Lakers and their fans that anyone not named Phil Jackson as the next coach was going to be the consolation prize.

If so, this is a pretty darn good one.

Mike D’Antoni has signed a contract and has been announced as the Lakers new coach with a press conference in the next couple of days, a story first broken by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times and now confirmed by the Lakers themselves. He takes over for Mike Brown, who lasted just five games into this season (1-4 record).

D’Antoni and the Lakers have agreed to a three-year deal for $12 million. Those three years is  coincidentally is how long Steve Nash‘s contract is for (or, maybe not so coincidentally).

When D’Antoni takes over the team remains a question — he had knee replacement surgery three weeks ago and is not terribly mobile yet. It is expected Bernie Bickerstaff will remain as interim coach through Tuesday when the Lakers play the Spurs, which would give D’Antoni a couple of practices before a first game as coach. Against the Suns, Friday at Staples Center. (Don’t be shocked if Bickerstaff coached that one, too.)

There is a lot of spin as to why things didn’t work out with Phil Jackson. Some sources say he was asking for too much money, too much latitude with time off to make the team comfortable, and he wanted a year-to-year deal while the team wanted more stability — Jim Buss (who runs the team for his father Jerry) turned to D’Antoni.

Both the Lakers and Jackson’s people have denied this is a money issue and have said they had not even started serious negotiations yet. The Lakers are saying this is purely a basketball decision.

Which is not going to sit well with Lakers fans.

Buss made the call Sunday and Kupchak called Jackson to let the Lakers know of franchise’s decision (it was expected Jackson was going to take the job Monday but negotiations were ongoing).

This is not going to be loved by Lakers fans, who had chanted “we want Phil” during the Lakers win over the Kings Sunday. The fan base seemed to have their hearts set on Jackson, while D’Antoni does not have rings or a reputation as a defensive guru.

D’Antoni is a 10-year head coach in the NBA who, combined with current Lakers point guard Steve Nash, ran one of the most potent offenses the NBA had ever seen with his “seven seconds or less” system. In New York with the Knicks he tried to implement that same system but the roster never really fit it, particularly once Carmelo Anthony arrived and was a ball stopper on the wing. Plus, the Knicks never defended for him (at least before Mike Woodson arrived).

The Lakers roster is older, slower and D’Antoni is going to have to modify his system some to make it work. But he has Nash and a potentially devastating pick-and-roll partner in Dwight Howard. Plus there is Kobe Bryant, who is a big fan of D’Antoni (remember Kobe lived in Italy in his youth when D’Antoni was the biggest star in the Italian league).

Kobe said after the Lakers game Sunday he had told management he would be happy with D’Antoni, and reaffirmed that later to the media.

He better, D’Antoni is the Lakers coach now no matter what Kobe thinks.

  1. jayrandle - Nov 12, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    Is Mike D’Antoni coming with a defensive assistant?
    I dont understand the desire over a coach that consistently dont empasize defense.
    His Phoenix and New York teams may be good on the offensive end but you dont win championships until you play good team defense (just ask Dallas).
    Yes of course Bryant and Howard are good defensive players but it still has to trickle from the top down.
    He does not hold his players accountable for defensive mistakes…
    Either way his hired is a good thing for Nash and the Lakers offense.

  2. uscthom78 - Nov 12, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    Phil sighting in new york.

  3. dmcannon99 - Nov 12, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    Well, Kobe seems OK with it, but he must know something I don’t. D’Antoni not only was unable to get a title for a pretty good team, he doesn’t appear to be a good fit with the Lakers. It would seem that Jim Buss is still throwing his weight around; he wanted Jackson gone, along with anything that might remind him that Phil was once there, so having him back appeared counter to his real desires. Of course, if that is the case, how much longer will Jerry Buss put up with his son screwing things up? Jerry Buss was about winning, Jim Buss appears to be about showing everybody who the boss is, even if the boss hasn’t a clue what he is doing. Maybe he should leave the Lakers and hire on as the GM for the Maloofs…they don’t seem that interested in basketball either.

  4. omniusprime - Nov 12, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    The Clueless Buss Boy screwed up yet again. What an idiot to hire D’Antoni and his premature ejaculation offense. Sorry but the Lakers should have paid Phil any amount of money and allowed him time off from road games and more latitude in running the team to ensure the Lakers would win more championships. Heck why even bother hiring D’Antoni when Bernie Bickerstaff has shown he can get the Lakers on a winning track?

    Yeah D’Antoni’s got a bum leg so can’t coach for a while, how smart is that? The little buss boy seems to have to prove he can do things his way. I hope Dr. Jerry pulls the plug on his ignorant brat boy and brings his beautiful, intelligent daughter Jeanie back to run things, she knew about winning. I’m not convinced that the Lakers will win a title with D’Antoni who’s proven he isn’t capable of reaching the cherished promised land ever before. This is one Laker fan who won’t be cheering for the new coach, same as the old losing coach.

    Go Home Little Buss Boy!!!

    • bougin89 - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      The problem with giving Phil all that power, especially with roster decisions, is how long is he going to be there? If Phil was younger, in better health, and committed long term they just might have caved into his demands. To give away the farm for a guy that wants a “year to year” contract doesn’t seem smart to me, even if it is Phil Jackson.

      • mister12 - Nov 12, 2012 at 10:30 AM

        Phil is fam, he is banging the daughter/sister…

      • bougin89 - Nov 12, 2012 at 10:46 AM

        mister12…Well you got me there. Phil Jackson does pretty well for himself at his advanced age, haha.

    • dickclydesdale - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:42 PM

      $12 million for 3 yrs. talk about flushing some quality cash down the toilet. Could have used that money to get better bench players not a guy that sits on the bench for 3 yrs.

  5. unxpexted1 - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    What in the Metta World Peace!!! This just doesnt make any sense. Mike D’antoni in NY shows that he could not handle superstars in NY in getting Amare and Melo to play together, and getting Carmelo to by into that system. This is just not the right move. You dont fire Mike Brown to make THIS move. I sincerely hope I’m wrong and I hope that D’antoni will tweak his system to fit this team. 7 seconds or less?? pau gasol can barely get across half court in seven seconds. I dont see how this offense fits. But we will see.

    • unxpexted1 - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      Also, Mike D’antoni’s offense is most successful when you have shooters that can spread the floor. If there is one thing the Lakers DONT have, its shooters. I just DO…NOT……GET IT!

  6. miamatt - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    I would be the first to say the Lakers run their organization brilliantly, and we’ll see how this all works out. But….

    As a Heat fan, I just breathed a sigh of relief.

    • Foul Dwimmerlaik - Nov 12, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      Dude, with or without Phil, your Heat is still a force to reckon with against our Lakers.

      • guyaneserj - Nov 13, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        I with your sentiments Foul Dwimmerlaik , but with Phil, I think ur a much better team… so I agree with miamatt, I too just breathed a sigh of relief…

  7. mat9844 - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    Being a Clips fan, I really don’t want to see the Lakers being successful ; that being said, I’ve always been a fan of Mike D’Antoni and I think he’ll be good for what ails the Lakers. I hope not too good!

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:13 PM

      More classy comments like this needed.

  8. unxpexted1 - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Also, I love Pau Gasol. But if I’m the Lakers. In order to get this offense to fit more of D’antoni’s system. You have to trade him for a shooter and a athlete. Not sure who or what we could get. But i just feel like Pau is not a good fit. You dont need 2 big man for this offense. You need one atheletic big man, which we have in Dwight. I just dont see where Pau would fit in. Trade him for athletic wings and shooters and i think that helps immensely.

    • aboogy123456 - Nov 12, 2012 at 10:04 AM

      I think you’re right that this hurts pau but that’s a big reason why I hate this hiring. When you have a great post player like pau, you need to make him a focal point of the offense. He makes everybody better because you need to double team him and he’s a great passer. You don’t trade a player that good, and if they got the athletic player you’re talking about, they would lose that elite back to the basket skills. This is also another reason why I’ve always disliked D’antoni. He needs certain players to adapt to his offense but he doesn’t adapt to the players he has.

      Miami heat fans should be thrilled. Lakers have a huge size advantage but a run and gun offense definitely favors teams like the heat.

    • bougin89 - Nov 12, 2012 at 10:50 AM

      Trading Pau Gasol for a shooter would be a major panic move, I don’t see that happening. If anything I see D’antoni adjusting his offense to fit the Lakers, or at least that’s what I would hope for if I were a Lakers fan.

      • scalfor3 - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:12 PM

        Gasol is a reliable shooter from 18 ft. Maybe use him as an unconventional way to stretch the floor and drag opposing bigs away from the basket, giving Nash and Howard room to attack? Similar to how Boston uses KG.

      • tharaidergang - Nov 12, 2012 at 5:04 PM

        Gasol is too slow though. And he clogs the paint up for Howard. I’d say try to trade him for Josh Smith and Anthony Morrow. That gives you an athletic 4 who can stretch the floor, and a dead eye shooter in Morrow.

  9. dgbk - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    why all the shots at mike d’antoni? as far as him not winnin anything his teams played during the spurs/ lakers dynasty…. didnt one or the other won every western conference final except one from 1999- 2010….. a lot of coaches during this point didnt win anything dont mean they suck as a coach

    • unxpexted1 - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:40 AM

      to me its not about him and his coaching skills as it is him and his coaching fit.

  10. aboogy123456 - Nov 12, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    D’Antoni reminds me of the coach from the movie Eddie before Eddie became the coach. He also doesn’t actually make his team work hard during practice and while there are a million reasons to not like this move, it really doesn’t help improve a knucklehead like Dwight Howard.

  11. mogogo1 - Nov 12, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Must be great for D’Antoni to be able to rub this in the Knicks front office’s face. Still not entirely sure how his style fits the Lakers’ roster outside of Nash, but he’s a good coach. Though, he’ll never be Phil Jackson.

    More than anything else, Buss the Younger wants to show he’s not his father. That likely doomed Jackson’s chances even there hadn’t been any special terms from Phil. (And, given Phil knew all that, he was smart to ask for special terms just to assure nobody would be meddling with him.)

  12. doctorfootball - Nov 12, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    So now the Lakers go from the Princeton offense to D’antoni’s “defense is a myth” system? Sorry Lakers fans. Get used to jacking up thirty threes a game and playing no defense. D’antoni doesn’t like post players either. The guy who suffers most here is Dwight Howard.

    • aboogy123456 - Nov 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      Dwight Howard is a great finisher more than a polished post player. This helps him but really hurts pau. I agree with you though, lakers would have helped their team if they benefited all their players, not just nash and Howard.

  13. jimsjam33 - Nov 12, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Who ? What ? Wha happened ?

  14. ocken123 - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    There is no way Steve Nash and Dwight Howard could have learned the Triangle Offense this season. The Triangle does not use a point guard anyway. Phil would not have been a good fit for their current roster. He wanted to take a bunch of games off during the season anyway. It sounds like Phil was interested only in the money and wanted only a one year deal too. D’Antoni is a much better fit. Phil seemed kind of bored during his last year with the Lakers too.

  15. pricejustin24 - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Attention readers of this lame site… Posters are simply morons and I sure hope they are working pro bono. They can manipulate their “stories” and everything they write is just their stupid opinion. Too many uniformed, unintelligent writers = NBC sports talk. End of story. The ONLY thing worth visiting this site for is a good damn laugh.

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      I think you’re lying.

    • jamkarat - Nov 12, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      Then why are you here wasting your time posting??

  16. scalfor3 - Nov 12, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Whether this works will depend on if D’Antoni can adjust to the Lakers personnel. They simply don’t have the horses to run 7 seconds or less. The potential saving grace here is D’Antoni’s love for the pick-and-roll, which should be a staple of any team with Nash or Howard, let alone both. D’Antoni doesn’t solve their defense or depth problems, but he should be a noticeable upgrade from Brown. The fact that Kobe legitimately likes him will definitely help.

    • 2late2matter - Nov 12, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      @scalfor3: I agree re. the need for D’Antoni “adjustment” to the Laker’s personnel and style, but remember that all athletes covet the RING and Steve Nash is surrounded by the talent he was woefully without while playing for the Suns.

      Too, the pick-and-roll will become a Laker staple soon enough and when the loaded bench notices the high scores being racked up they will eagerly contribute to the scheme. The triangle will work, but so too can the pick-and-roll.

      Kobe (in many respects) is all the athlete Michael was with the Bulls, and I see Kobe working hard for the next championship this Fall.

    • unxpexted1 - Nov 12, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      yea the fact Kobe seems to like will at least help with buy-in to whatever system is chosen which is already an upgrade in the belief in brown.

  17. jamkarat - Nov 12, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    As a decades long fan, I am thrilled they bypassed Phil for D’Antoni. it was the right call.

  18. kappy32 - Nov 12, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Love the signing. This was better than Jackson & I expect an almost immediate turn around with this team easily putting up 120-140 points each night. Lakers fans should be very excited.


    Knicks Fan.

  19. dysraw1 - Nov 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    in all the years i have watched the Knicks on tv. or at the garden, i have never seen such an unprepared, inept coach. during his tenure as head coach of the team i say we 12 to 15 games per season due to a lack of preparation. he had no clout in the front office.he totally resented the trade for Carmelo. he refused to alter his offense, to accommodate his players. so yeah hes gonna work out fine.

  20. jolink653 - Nov 12, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Maybe it’s just me, but I think Phil Jackson is really overrated as a coach…All people see are the 11 championships, and that is impressive, don’t get me wrong, but he had 3 of the best players in NBA history in Michael, Kobe, and Shaq, one of the best #2’s in Scottie Pippen, those Bulls teams were absolutely loaded from top to bottom in their dynasty run, and the Lakers won during their dynasty simply because Shaq and Kobe were so dominant and played so well off of each other on top of the fact that those Lakers teams also were stacked…This guy has never taken over as coach of a team unless that team was stacked with talent and pretty much a guarantee to go to the Finals and he had Kobe in the prime of his career and didn’t win anything between 2002 and 2009…He institutes a simple offense in which he just sits back and lets his players coach themselves, which works well for him but by no means makes him a great coach…Let him take over a terrible team like the Bobcats and get them to a championship and then I’ll put him at the top of the list

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