There are several NBA rumors swirling around the Los Angeles Lakers following the firing of head coach Mike Brown. One of the latest reports has the team looking at Phil Jackson or Mike D'Antoni to fill the vacancy.
An article by By Ramona Shelburne and Dave McMenamin on ESPNLosAngeles.com relayed information from the infamous unnamed source with knowledge of the situation.
"It's neck and neck," the informant said, referring to where the team stands on Jackson or D'Antoni.
The team is expected to be in contact with both targets by Saturday, and a meeting with Jackson could happen over the weekend. He would likely be a quick replacement for interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff.
Bickerstaff has only committed to a couple games. Process should move quickly— ramonashelburne (@ramonashelburne) November 10, 2012
UPDATE: Nov. 10, 1:45 a.m. by Darin Pike
The Lakers have reportedly already made contact with Jackson:
The Lakers have officially contacted Phil Jackson to gauge his interest in coaching them, The Times has learned.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 10, 2012
It seems quite possible that a deal could be struck over the weekend.
---End of Update---
The road with D'Antoni is a bit more challenging. He is recovering from knee replacement surgery and could need up to six weeks before he'd be ready for the position.
But Marc Stein, also of ESPN.com, stated he had inside information that D'Antoni could be ready in as little as 10 days.
D'Antoni most recently was an assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski for the gold-medal Team USA squad at the London Games. He was also the head coach for the New York Knicks from 2008 until he resigned last March. The team was off to a disappointing 18-24 start.
In three full seasons with the Knicks, he missed the playoffs twice and was bounced in the first round his third season.
The biggest positive for D'Antoni is he spent time with Steve Nash when he was coaching Phoenix from 2003-2008. They reached the Western Conference finals twice.
D'Antoni's success revolved around athletic players that could outwork their opposition. That doesn't feel like a fit with the personnel in Los Angeles.
Jackson spent last season away from coaching. He wasn't interested in attempting to take over a team in the lockout-shortened season, and he was also having health issues:
RT @smolek: Phil Jackson is getting around better after knee replacement surgery and losing weight.He's OK with travel and wants to coach.— Brian Fritz (@BrianFritz) November 9, 2012
The surgery was last March, and an ESPN.com source familiar with his rehabilitation process says Jackson is "getting better and better."
Jackson's familiarity with the team should allow for an easier transition. He has also expressed a willingness to return:
The timing of Brown's firing is odd, but he also seemed like a strange fit from the start.
Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss needs to get it right this go-around, and Jackson seems like the better fit between the two.