The Los Angeles Lakers made major news on Monday morning, bringing back Phil Jackson to coach...Hold on, folks. I'm getting an update here.
You'll have to repeat that...You're saying they signed Mike D'Antoni, not Phil Jackson?
Well, how about that?
As you might have guessed, Twitter was abuzz even in the early hours of Monday morning in the wake of this news.
The usual topics were discussed: Why D'Antoni over Jackson? Is D'Antoni the right fit? Is Kobe happy? Seriously, Kobe's okay with it?
We start with Chris Palmer of ESPN, who reacted the way pretty much everyone else did when first learning of this news:
Lakers go with Mike D'Antoni over the Zen Master. Wow.— chris palmer (@ESPNChrisPalmer) November 12, 2012
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times (who first reported the news) has one clue as to why D'Antoni was the choice over Jackson:
Mike D'Antoni signed a four-year deal with the Lakers. Phil Jackson was "asking for the moon," accoring to source familiar w/ the situation.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 12, 2012
What do you get the man who has 13 NBA championships (11 as a coach) and who made hundreds of millions of dollars in his career? Apparently, his favorite celestial body. Or crazy amounts of money.
Or perhaps both?
Whatever the case may be, it was too expensive for the Lakers tastes. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Phil Jackson certainly expected to have his needs met and return to coaching this team:
Source says Phil Jackson was "stunned" when he was informed the Lakers had chosen D'Antoni. Had been told it was his job to turn down— ramonashelburne (@ramonashelburne) November 12, 2012
Was this only because Phil's demands were too high, however? Perhaps not—Chris Broussard of ESPN reports there were basketball reasons for the D'Antoni choice as well:
Lakers felt only Kobe, Pau, MWP would've fit triangle, that offense too complex for others to learn on the fly & it not a good fit.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 12, 2012
If that's the case, why talk to Jackson in the first place?
Then again, if you can convince Jackson to coach once again without needing to buy him several planets, you have to try.
One relief for the Lakers is that Kobe will be pleased with this hiring, as he goes way back with D'Antoni. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports has us covered on the Kobe front:
Yeah, but do you love him, Kobe?
"I love him," Kobe Bryant simply said about Mike D'Antoni via e-mail to Y! Sports early Monday morning.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) November 12, 2012
Oh, you do. Okay then.
So does this mean the old Showtime Lakers of the '80s have returned? Because lord knows this team still is unlikely to play defense.
Right, Stephen A. Smith?
Of course, as Roland Lazenby notes, D'Antoni is more than just his "seven-second offense."
Well, hopefully he is.
Well, Mike will pick up the speed on the Lakers’ offense, no question. But he’ll have to show he’s more than a one trick pony. And he is.— Roland Lazenby (@lazenby) November 12, 2012
Is he, though?
Actually, if I may weigh in here for a second, I believe he is. More importantly, he is a good fit for the Lakers.
Steve Nash will get the reins of the offense, and Pau Gasol will be more involved. Kobe already respects him, and we all know Kobe will get his no matter who the coach is. Dwight Howard will be taken care of, too.
There will need to be some adjustments, of course. The Lakers will need to be willing to run, and D'Antoni will need to acknowledge that he doesn't have the outside shooters to work with that he had with the Phoenix Suns.
However, generally speaking, I like the move. I think it will infuse this team with some much-needed energy, and the Lakers were able to bring D'Antoni in without having to start their own space program.
I would have loved to see the Zen Master return for one more go, but if he wasn't going to be the guy, I think D'Antoni was the next logical selection.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets can handle as many Hall of Fame egos as you like.