Lakers News: Latest on Mike D'Antoni's LA Coaching Debut Date

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIINovember 15, 2012

Incoming Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni's debut has been highly anticipated and it looks like fans are only going to have to wait a little while longer.

UPDATE: Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 1:50 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp

Finally, the new coach of the Lakers will actually get the chance to coach during a game, at least according to Howard Beck of The New York Times:

D'antoni says he will coach tonight

— Howard Beck (@HowardBeckNYT) November 20, 2012

There you have it, folks. Lakers fans will finally get a first-hand look at the new man in charge. 

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Monday, Nov. 19 at 2:04 p.m. ET by Patrick Clarke

Mike D'Antoni did not coach the Lakers on Sunday night against the Houston Rockets, and he's still not fully recovered from his recent knee surgery. D'Antonio expressed his disappointment but expects to be back soon (per's Dave McMenamin):

I'm a little disappointed, I wanted to be on the bench. After talking with (Lakers trainer) Gary Vitti...he convinced me a little bit not to do it.

D'Antoni is expected to make his coaching debut Tuesday night when the Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets, according to McMenamin.

---End of Update---


UPDATE: Sunday, Nov. 18, at 7:40 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos

Lakers fans will have to wait a little while longer to see Mike D'Antoni on the sidelines during a game.'s Mike Trudell reported the following via Twitter:

Mike D'Antoni will not be on the sideline tonight, after all. Bernie Bickerstaff will continue to run the ship.

— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) November 19, 2012

D'Antoni is still recovering from knee surgery, and it is unclear when he will make his coach debut. 

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Sunday, Nov. 18, at 3:35 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos

Mike D'Antoni's coaching debut is once again in doubt, and he is uncertain whether he will be on the bench when the Lakers take on the Rockets. 

Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News reported that D'Antoni said, "The plan is, but I’m still 50-50. I may be jumping the gun a little bit. I threw that day out of the air and people ran with it. So we’ll see."

Medina notes that D'Antoni's recent knee surgery is the reason for the delay, and that the new Lakers coach wants to ensure that he has the energy and mobility to adequately do his job. 

---End of Update---


Having just been formally introduced during Thursday's press conference, it makes sense that D'Antoni won't get to the Lakers bench for the game against Phoenix on Friday.

L.A. sits at 3-5 after an 84-82 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday and has been plagued by injuries in the backcourt, most notably to newly acquired star point guard Steve Nash.

Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff has gone 2-1 since filling in for the recently fired Mike Brown, who was forced out the door after just over one season. He was criticized for a variety of reasons—his Princeton offensive scheme included—and ultimately lost the talented team despite his strong coaching resume.

The most intriguing dimension D'Antoni brings to the table is his renowned "Seven Seconds or Less" offense, which Nash thrived in as a member of the Suns when D'Antoni was coach. Nash won both of his league MVP awards in D'Antoni's system, which is heavily reliant on the pick-and-roll. That should bode well for the Lakers frontcourt of Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard.

Ironically, D'Antoni will just miss out on facing the franchise with which he had his most successful stint as a head coach.

But keep in mind that Sunday will be the earliest that D'Antoni can helm his first game, so the beginning of a new era in L.A. over the weekend isn't set in stone.