In a dramatic saga, the Los Angeles Lakers fired Mike Brown on Friday, just five games into the season. Then they toyed with rehiring Phil Jackson to take his place. Then, late on Sunday, they stunned the NBA by hiring Mike D’Antoni. Even D’Antoni’s agent had expected Jackson to get the job.
“We’re as surprised as everybody waking up and reading about it,” his agent, Warren LeGarie, stated.
D’Antoni has received a three-year, $12 million contract with an option for a fourth year. He will be reunited with Steve Nash, who ran his offense in Phoenix, and Kobe Bryant, who he coached with the U.S. national team. It is unclear when D’Antoni will make his Lakers debut because he is recovering from reconstructive knee surgery and is not cleared for travel. He is expected to hire two or three assistants, including his brother Dan and Phil Weber who both worked with him in Phoenix and New York.
D’Antoni’s best years were in Phoenix, where the Suns advanced to the Western Conference finals twice and averaged 58 wins in his four seasons. Nash became a two-time most valuable player during these four years on the Suns and is enthusiastic about the reunion saying, “If he were the coach, it would be seamless and terrific for me, and I think the team as well.”
General Manager Mitch Kupchak agrees. In a statement, he called D’Antoni “the right person at this time to lead the Lakers forward.”
Some reports suggest that D’Antoni might be introduced on Thursday which means his first game with the Lakers could be Friday against the Phoenix Suns. You can get your tickets here with Ace.