Late Sunday night the Lakers completed negotiations with Mike D'Antoni, shocking both Lakers fans and Phil Jackson alike. Jackson, who had been engaged in talks with the Lakers ever since Mike Brown was fired 3 days ago, was under the impression that he, being Phil Jackson, was the team's first choice. The fans, who could be heard chanting Jackson's name on Sunday night in the Lakers' win over the Kings, felt the same.
Jackson, who has 11 rings to his name as a coach, negotiated with an upper hand from the beginning-- with clauses such as travel restrictions and even an ownership stake in the team dominating the talks, the actual coaching aspect of the deal being taken for granted. On Monday morning he found that Mike D'Antoni had been chosen to, quite simply, coach the Lakers.
While Jackson is a proven champion and most likely the first choice head coach of Kobe Bryant himself, Lakers' management felt that at this time, given their current roster, D'Antoni was the best fit. D'Antoni, known most recently as the man run out of town in New York by a star-driven team that never really bought in to his style of offense, built his pedigree with Phoenix years ago, implementing an offense that had point guard Steve Nash and, consequently the team, playing up to their potential. With Nash once again at the helm, this is what Lakers' management envisions this time around.
There is no doubt that the hiring of D'Antoni is the more daring of the two choices. Nobody would ever point the finger at Jerry Buss if Phil Jackson didn't work out. He is an absolute no-brainer as a hire. D'Antoni, on the other hand, comes with many question marks. He has the reputation for ignorning the defensive side of the ball, he was never able to corral Carmelo Anthony while coaching the Knicks, and in this case, he's simply not Phil Jackson.
Either way, the Lakeshow sure has given us an entertaining first week of 'basketball.' What do you think of the move?