WOW! Jersey Girls! What a difference a day makes.
The Los Angeles Lakers named Mike D’ Antoni as their next head coach.
D’Antoni signed a sweet three year, 12 million dollar contract with an option for an additional year as confirmed by D’Antoni’s agent Warren Legarie.
NBA.com reports that talks broke down between Jackson and Lakers Management over the issue of executive authority.
I can understand Phil’s need for control at this point in his career, but the Lakers are looking to rebuild and may not have wanted to give Phil the full reigns without a guarantee on his longevity with the team.
The upside to the surprise deal with D’ Antoni is that he coached Steve Nash for four years with the Phoenix Suns. His high octane offense is a perfect fit for Nash.
“Obviously everyone knows how much I love Mike,” Nash said. “If he were the coach it would be seamless and terrific for me and the team as well.” (ESPNLA.com.)
It’s great that Nash loves D’Antoni- but what’s even better is that Kobe likes and respects him. Because when Kobe ain’t happy….
D’Antoni was a big basketball star in Italy when Kobe was growing up and D’Antoni was one of his early idols. The next step will be D’Antoni’s ability to engage Dwight Howard in the offense and build a relationship with him.
I feel that one of Phil Jackson’s biggest strengths is his ability to relate to and manage players. It remains to be seen if D’Antoni can do the same ; he was never able to connect with Carmelo Anthony while coaching the Knicks nor get him to buy in to the fast paced “seven seconds or less” offensive scheme. The lack of chemistry between the two was a big reason D’Antoni left New York.
After Sunday’s win over the Kings, fans were chanting for Phil Jackson’s return, however, Laker fans nostalgic for the Jackson era will have to be content with the misty water colored memories (channeling Barbara Striesand).
D’Antoni recently had knee replacement surgery, according to Yahoo sports Bernie Bickerstaff will remain as interim until D’Antoni is available to coach the Lakers.
Stay tuned Jersey Girl Nation, the fun is just beginning…
Your Jersey Girlfriend,