We’ve heard from a lot of people on this situation yesterday, now we finally hear from the man himself.
Mike D’Antoni apparently was just as surprised to get the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaching job as Phil Jackson was that he didn’t get it.
D’Antoni told the New York Daily News that he assumed, like most everybody else, that Jackson was a lock to return to the franchise as Mike Brown’s replacement. Brown was fired after the Lakers stumbled badly out of the gate while struggling to learn his Princeton-inflected offense and playing mediocre defense.
“Sure I did,” the former Suns and Knicks coach told the newspaper. “For sure I did. Didn’t everybody? When I got the call that it was me, my first reaction was, ‘Are you serious?'”
D’Antoni said he was excited to be reunited with point guard Steve Nash, who he coached in Phoenix for five seasons. Nash won back-to-back NBA MVP awards (2004-05, 2005-06) running D’Antoni’s signature up-tempo offense, and they won at least 54 games in each of D’Antoni’s last four seasons.
“To get one more chance to have him run the thing the way he did for me before (in Phoenix), well, that’s the kind of thing you never think is going to happen. But now it has,” D’Antoni told the Daily News.
D’Antoni coached the Knicks for the past four seasons, resigning last March after a largely unsuccessful tenure featuring just one playoff appearance and no postseason victories.
D’Antoni said he considered himself “lucky or even blessed” to get the opportunity to coach the Lakers.
“I like this team,” D’Antoni told the newspaper. “We’re good, and we’re gonna get better.”
A league source told ESPN.com that D’Antoni received a three-year deal worth $12 million with a club option for a fourth year. D’Antoni’s agent Warren LeGarie confirmed the deal late Sunday night, several hours after the Lakers beat Sacramento 103-90 for their second straight win under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff.
The Lakers plan to hold a news conference sometime this week.
WRITTEN BY ESPN & FULL STORY HERE