The drama has ended as to the new coach of Los Angeles Lakers will be! Mike D’Antoni, the former coach of the Suns and Knicks, was hired late Sunday night to replace Mike Brown.
D’Antoni agreed to a three-year deal worth $12 million, with a team option for a fourth season.
Lakers were in talks to hire back Phil Jackson, the 11-time NBA champion coach, but negotiations fell through, leaving the vacant spot for D’Antoni.
As reported by the Associated Press:
The Lakers instead went with D’Antoni, a respected offensive strategist who coached Lakers point guard Steve Nash in Phoenix during the best years of their respective careers. D’Antoni was less successful during four seasons in New York, but at least restored the once-moribund Knicks to competence before resigning last March.
“Dr. (Jerry) Buss, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak unanimously agreed that Mike was the best coach for this roster at this time,” Lakers spokesman John Black said.
The 61-year-old D’Antoni underwent knee replacement surgery earlier this month, and could be physically limited early his tenure. Black said the Lakers aren’t certain when D’Antoni will travel to Los Angeles to begin work.
As for the two Laker stars, Nash won two MVP awards while running D’Antoni’s signature up-tempo offense for the final four seasons of the coach’s five-year tenure with the Suns, while Bryant knew D’Antoni when he was a kid living in Italy.