In what can only be considered a shocking turn of events, the Lakers have hired Mike D’Antoni to replace Mike Brown as their new head coach. Mike Bresnahan broke the news on twitter just a little while ago:
Obviously, this means that Phil Jackson will not step in to coach the team for the third time in the last 13 years.
My initial take is twofold: first, I’m a bit disappointed that Phil isn’t the guy. I’ve long respected him and thought he’d have been a great fit with this roster, even though there would have been some things to work out in maximizing all the players — especially Steve Nash. But if there were holdups in terms of his desires outside of simply coaching the team, I can see how those might have interfered with him getting this job.
Second, I like Mike D’Antoni for this job. I think he’ll be great for the Lakers guards and can get a lot out of their big men in a variety of ways. There are questions about his defensive chops but he had the Knicks in the top 10 of defensive efficiency when he was let go from that job last year.
We’ll have more in the coming days.