The Lakers Hire Mike D’Antoni After Making it Seem Like Phil Jackson Had the Job

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Michael Garcia - November 13, 2012

The Los Angeles Lakers hired Mike D'Antoni today to take over the team, after a weekend full of Phil Jackson talks and stories that made it seem like Jackson all but had the job. Hiring D'Antoni might actually be a better fit for some pretty important reasons. Jackson would have wanted to run his triangle offense, and with the team struggling to implement the Princeton offense (leading to Mike Brown's firing), it might have been the same thing with the triangle, outside of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol already knowing it.

D'Antoni coached Steve Nash in Phoenix where the point guard racked up two NBA MVP awards. D'Antoni was a star player in the Italian league, where Kobe grew up watching him play. D'Antoni was also an assistant this summer for the Olympic team, so he and Bryant are familiar with each other in a working sense.

Since Mike Brown was fired on Friday, the Lakers have won two straight under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff to get to 3-4 on the year. L.A. beat Sacramento 103-90 last night behind Dwight Howard's 23 points and 18 rebounds.

D'Antoni and the Lakers agreed to the terms of the contract late Sunday night, which is said to be a four-year deal. The only complication is that D'Antonio recently had knee surgery and might not be able to coach right away; he hasn't been cleared to travel as of today. He last coached the New York Knicks, resigning last March.

Kobe was open about his preference for Jackson's return on Friday, but told ESPN this morning, 'I love PJ but I'm very excited about D'Antoni.' Jackson was reportedly stunned that the job turned out not be his.

As long as Kobe's happy.

via ESPN

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