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Lakers fans are accustomed to seeing Mike D'Antoni's struggle face.
After a lackluster 1-4 start, the firing of head coach Mike Brown, an interim stint from Bernie Bickerstaff and a brief coaching search, the Los Angeles Lakers found their man.
To the chagrin of Lakers fans everywhere, that man was not Zen Master Phil Jackson.
Instead, the Lakers decided to hire offensive guru Mike D’Antoni in an attempt to heal an ailing Lakers squad. He’s been able to lead the Lakers back into the playoff picture, but it was an ugly ride that relied upon inconsistent play from the Utah Jazz.
Making matters worse, though, is how the Lakers’ front office handled the decision. The move to hire D’Antoni was understandable if Jackson had refused the position, but apparently that wasn’t the case.
According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Jackson was strongly considering a return to the Lakers but was woken up by a phone call at midnight informing him the job was D’Antoni’s.
Jackson reportedly said of the affair, “I wish it would have been a little bit cleaner. It would have been much more circumspect and respectful of everybody that's involved. It seemed slimy to be awoken with this kind of news. It's just weird."
It seems that the Lakers may have burned a bridge with Jackson in favor of hiring D’Antoni, but that hasn’t stopped the “We want Phil” chants from Lakers fans.