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NBA: Mike D'Antoni to become new Lakers coach - sources

November 12, 2012 3:59pm

The chants of "We want Phil!" will go ignored in Los Angeles, if sources are to be believed.

According to the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, the Lakers have opted not to bring back the multi-titled Phil Jackson as their head coach, opting instead for Mike D'Antoni.


Bresnahan, on Twitter, said that D'Antoni inked a four-year deal with the club, after Jackson was "asking for the moon."

ESPN's J.A. Adande later tweeted out that a source had told him the same thing, but that D'Antoni would not be in place "till later in the week," because the former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach was "awaiting medical clearance post-knee [replacement] surgery."


USA Today later confirmed the signing with D'Antoni's agent, Warren LeGarie. Lakers spokesman John Black also told Bresnahan, "Dr. Buss, Jim Buss + Mitch [Kupchak, GM of the Lakers] were unanimous that Mike D'Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time."


D'Antoni had resigned as head coach of the Knicks last March 14, after the team went 18-24 during the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season. He was Lakers point guard Steve Nash's head coach when the two were in Phoenix, guiding Nash to two MVP titles.

He also served as an assistant for the United States' mens basketball team in the 2012 London Olympics which won gold, a squad that included Laker Kobe Bryant. Bryant had grown up in Italy as a fan of D'Antoni, where the latter had played professionally.


Jackson meanwhile had last coached the Lakers during the 2010-11 season, when they lost in the conference semifinals to the Dallas Mavericks, who went on to dispatch the Miami Heat and claim the NBA title.

An ESPN report stated that Jackson had requested for travel restrictions, which would "limit the number of road games" he would attend. He also asked for "a salary in line with what he previously earned with the Lakers and significantly more say over basketball decisions."

Jackson was also interested in "bringing along an assistant coach or associate head coach whom he could groom to be his successor."

The Lakers last Friday (Saturday, PHL time) had fired Mike Brown after the squad began a disappointing 1-4, at the time, the worst record in the Western Conference. Since his firing, interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff has gone 2-0, with wins over the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings. - AMD, GMA News




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