New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni plans to keep the the team’s coaching staff intact, but will also make additions, starting with his brother Dan.
Los Angeles fired coach Mike Brown just five games into the season and surprisingly chose D’Antoni over Phil Jackson to fill the vacancy. Today, the Los Angeles Times' T.J. Simers reported the following from an interview with D'Antoni:
He says his brother, Dan, will be joining the Lakers’ coaching staff but the rest of the staff should remain intact.
He hasn’t talked to defensive-minded coach Nate McMillan, but he says he intends to this summer, although he wouldn’t be surprised if McMillan is head coach by that time elsewhere.
Dan D’Antoni previously served as an assistant under his younger brother Mike on both the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coaching staffs, so the move does not come as a complete surprise by the new Lakers head coach.
There is clear motivation to hire McMillan as well. The former Seattle SuperSonics and Portland Trail Blazers head coach is a defensive specialist, while D’Antoni is known for his offensive knowledge. Both men served under Mike Krzyzewski for Team USA in the London Games.
While these two would be sensible additions, D’Antoni will be taking over a staff of talented coaches. The Lakers made major changes to the assistants under Mike Brown in the offseason, hiring Eddie Jordan, Steve Clifford and Bernie Bickerstaff. Currently, Bickerstaff is serving as the interim head coach following Brown’s dismissal.
It will certainly be a crowded bench, and every member of the coaching staff will be under immense pressure to get their superstar roster to play like the championship-caliber team they were and are expected to be.