IFWT_Dantoni Nash

The Los Angeles Lakers infamous coaching decision is still one that has people scratching their heads.  Rather than re-hiring legendary coach Phil Jackson, they decided to go with Mike D’Antoni.  Jim Buss has long maintained that it was a decision made by his father Jerry Buss from his hospital bed.  Jerry reportedly wanted a return to the uptempo Showtime Lakers and Jim wanted to make his first big decision for the team.  It might have been more than that though, according to Jeanie Buss the Lakers chose to build around Steve Nash not Dwight Howard.

Shay Marie

via ESPN:

“It came down to hiring a coach. [The Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni in November 2012.] When you have a big man and a guard, you have to decide whom you’re going to build your team around. The choice was to build it around Steve Nash and what suited Steve Nash instead of what suited Dwight Howard.”

Jim: I’ve been on record as saying [hiring D’Antoni] was my dad’s decision. I know that makes Jeanie uncomfortable, but I’d sit down with him for hours going over Laker decisions. In my opinion, he was sharp.

Jeanie: [Interrupts] Dad was in the hospital. I would always run things by Dad too. But he was in the hospital, not feeling well, and that is why he counted on us to make the decisions. So I agree that he would have input, but he needed my suggestion or Jimmy’s suggestion or [GM Mitch Kupchak’s] suggestion because he was confined and did not have access to all the information that we did.

Jeanie is engaged to Phil Jackson and clearly would’ve preferred to go with him as coach but Phil would’ve eventually wanted the same front office power he now has with the Knicks and that would’ve cut into Jim’s power.

The decision was clearly a bad one.  Dwight Howard wanted Phil to coach as well and with the Lakers ignoring his request it didn’t help relations between the two.  Plus there’s the obvious point, at the time Steve Nash was 37-years-old while Dwight Howard was 26-years-old.  Building around an aging point guard over a dominant center?! Ahhh no.  Obviously the plan backfired; Steve Nash’s injuries kept him out for basically two seasons (including this one) and Dwight Howard left in free agency.