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NBA Odds: Lakers hire Mike D'Antoni as Coach

Written by Gaby Varji   
Tuesday, 13 November 2012 05:46

Lakers hire Mike D'Antoni as CoachIn a surprise move, Los Angeles Lakers announced on Monday morning that they had signed the former coach of the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks , Mike D'Antoni to replace Mike Brown as head coach.

D'Antoni signed a four-year contract, according to his agent Warren LeGarie confirmed Sunday night, several hours after the Lakers beat Sacramento 103-90 to get their second win in a row with interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff in the bench.

A league source said the contract D'Antonio is for three years and for $ 12 million, and that the franchise has an option for a fourth betting season.

The agreement was signed in the early hours of Monday, and sources confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that D'Antoni took the job quickly after that management was all weekend negotiating with Phil Jackson.


The Lakers plan to have a press conference on Tuesday or Wednesday. In a statement released by the team, the Lakers spokesman John Black said the decision "was unanimous." "I love Phil Jackson, but I'm very excited about D'Antoni," said Kobe Bryant early Monday.

Sources said, that the triangle offense would be very beneficial to Bryant and Pau Gasol , but not necessarily for the rest of the pieces of equipment, more specifically for Steve Nash and Dwight Howard .

A league source stressed late Sunday that Jackson was "really surprised" when the Lakers called him to inform him that they had chosen to D'Antoni. He was prepared to take the job on Monday. Jackson's agent, Todd usberger would travel to Los Angeles on Monday.

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Jackson and the Lakers had never discussed salary, "but he knew that the coaches do not earn what they earned before." Jackson, the source added, never thought to leave more road games than those lost in previous years with the Lakers.

For more news, notes and analysis of the Lakers, take a look at the Lakers blog. Blog
"Phil would come back just to win, and missing games is not synonymous with victory," he said a team source.

D'Antoni, who had surgery on his knee in early November, still can not travel, but according to sources, "are going to spend a couple of days before it comes, but it is better than many think."

There is a possibility that Bickerstaff remain as interim coach even after the press conference, if you still think D'Antoni is ideal for fitness training.

It is expected that the staff of Brown to stay with the team, along with "one or two" will bring new attendees. Two candidates arrive with D'Antoni is his older brother Dan, like Phil Weber.

D'Antoni spent five seasons coaching Nash in Phoenix, and point guard won two MVP awards leading the high voltage offensive coach's trademark; won at least 54 games in each of the past four seasons of D'Antoni.

New York then coached for four seasons, resigned in March after an unsuccessful stay, a playoff appearance and no postseason victory.

Nash and Bryant expressed enthusiasm for the idea of ??playing for D'Antoni, but Bryant had called openly for a third cycle of Jackson with the Lakers. D'Antoni idolized Bryant when he was a star in the Italian basketball.

"Obviously everyone knows how much I love Mike," stated Nash on Sunday before hiring. "If D'Antoni was coaching, would be an easy transition."

The Lakers now have a 3-4 record after losing four of the first five regular season games, the worst start in the franchise since 1993.

Mike Brown was fired after the bad start for the Lakers, who used a Princeton offense, which was criticized for being out of college, and a defense playing mediocre. D'Antoni has the reputation of being an offensive-minded coach.

The Lakers' next game is Tuesday night against San Antonio. Phoenix visits the Staples Center on Friday.

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