Mike D'Antoni Named Lakers' New Head Coach

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 12:  Head coach Mike D'Antoni of the New York Knicks watches as his team takes on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on March 12, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Knicks 104-99. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Mike D'Antoni has been named the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers

 

UPDATE: Monday, Nov. 12 at 6:10 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos

Mike D'Antoni was the Lakers' first choice for their coaching vacancy, even with Phil Jackson's interest in the position. 

With many different opinions flying around as to why Los Angeles made its unexpected decision to hire D'Antoni, The Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan reported that Jackson released a statement saying the following about his discussions with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak:

We talked for over an hour and a half. No contractual terms were discussed and we concluded with a handshake and an understanding that I would have until Monday [today] to come back to them with my decision. I did convey to them that I did have the confidence that I could do the job.

Passing up on the coach that has won the most titles in NBA history and put five championship banners in the rafters at Staples Center is certainly a controversial decision. The pressure is now on the entire L.A. organization to perform at a high level this season. 

----End of update--


UPDATE: Monday, Nov. 12 at 4:35 p.m. ET by Tim Keeney

It's unclear when D'Antoni will join the Lakers, but there is a possibility he could make his debut against a familiar squad.

From Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears:

Lakers spokesman said they were hopeful new coach Mike D'Antoni would make it to LA Wednesday and weren't sure if he'd coach Friday vs PHX.

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) November 12, 2012

D'Antoni, of course, coached the Suns from 2003-2008 before heading to New York to take over the Knicks. 

---End of update---

 

Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times broke the news, via Twitter early this morning.

Source: Mike D'Antoni will be the next coach of the Lakers. Not Phil Jackson.

— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 12, 2012

 D'Antoni will take over the team after the Lakers fired former head coach Mike Brown only seven games into the 2012 season. Bernie Bickerstaff has served as the team's interim coach.

With D'Antoni, the Lakers will be directed by an offensive guru. D'Antoni is known for his run and gun offensive philosophies and has served as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns from 2003-2008 and the New York Knicks from 2008-2012.

After multiple playoff runs with the Suns, D'Antoni took the head coaching job in New York and managed to guide the franchise to one playoff appearance in four years.

D'Antoni resigned from the position with the Knicks in March of 2012 after a disappointing 18-24 start to the season.

While D'Antoni's reign didn't go quite as planned in New York, Los Angeles is hoping that a reunion with point guard Steve Nash will be enough to make D'Antoni look like an elite coach once again.

The pair worked well together in Phoenix. Nash won two MVP awards in D'Antoni's system while D'Antoni was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 2005.

Overall, D'Antoni has a regular season record of 388-339 and a playoff record of 26-29 as a head coach.

With D'Antoni in charge, the Lakers should look like a much different team than Mike Brown's Lakers. Brown's Princeton offense never seemed to catch on in the brief time that he worked with this Lakers team and D'Antoni's fast-paced system will look to capitalize on Nash's abilities in particular.