Los Angeles Lakers may have bought a new coach to the club but Mike D’Antoni will have to before coaching from the bench during his first game appearance with the team.
Meanwhile, interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff will coach the Los Angeles Lakers through Tuesday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs at
The Los Angels Lakers announced Mike D’Antoni’s hiring late Sunday night, but is uncertain when he will be ready to join the team after recently undergoing knee replacement surgery. Mike D’Antoni’s first game as the Los Angeles Lakers coach will be against the Phoenix Suns, one of his former teams, on Friday.
“Dr. (Jerry) Buss, Jim Buss (owner) and Mitch Kupchak (general manager) unanimously agreed that Mike was the best coach for this roster at this time,” Los Angeles Lakers spokesman John Black expressed the team’s stance on the hiring Mike D’Antoni for the job.
Mike D’Antoni previously coached the New York Knicks before resigning in March to end a four-year coaching stint.
Although Kobe Bryant was initially a vocal supporter of Phil Jackson, it turns out that having Mike D’Antoni as the Los Angeles Lakers’ next coach also suites him. The former Olimpia Milano player Mike D’Antoni used to be Kobe Bryant’s childhood idol while playing in
“We have a great relationship. The offense that was installed for our Team USA, we won two gold medals. It was an offense that was flexible — I was open and it kept everyone involved,” said Kobe Bryant. “It worked pretty well. — He an offensive genius”
Kobe Bryant, who is often criticized for having too much control even in the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office, revealed that Jimmy Buss and Mitch Kupchak kept him in on the whole deal. However, initially Kobe Bryant didn’t know that former Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson was also being considered for a third stint of coaching the franchise.
“To be honest, Coach D’Antoni was my first choice because I didn’t know Phil Jackson was even a choice,” stated Kobe Bryant. “They knew the two guys I liked and they had my approval.”
Above all Kobe Bryant is a fan of Mike D’Antoni’s “feisty” and “temperamental” style of offense.
"I've obviously played against his teams for a number of years and I know his philosophy,” said Kobe Bryant. “I know how competitive he is. He's a feisty, feisty dude. Temperamental, even. I like that."
Mike D’Antoni has other ties around the club. He coached Los Angeles Lakers’ newly acquired point guard Steve Nash to two MVP titles, while running the Phoenix Suns’ offense. However, Mike D’Antoni won’t be able to play Steve Nash at least another week after the 8-time All-Star missed the last five games due to a minor leg fracture.
Ten-year veteran Steve Blake has been filling in for Steve Nash, but will miss Tuesday’s game due to minor abdominal strain.