Mike D’antoni Takes Over The Lakers

On November 16, 2012, in Sporting News, by Buddy TB

Los Angeles LakersTeam USA assistant coach Mike D’Antoni is now the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Speculation abounded last week as the name of ex Laker Coach Phil Jackson was on everyone’s lips as a shoe in to be the new head coach of the Lakers following the untimely firing of Mike Brown last week.

When the Lakers called to tell Jackson the news he was stunned because he had been under the impression it was his job to turn down although no formal offer had ever been made.  Jackson reportedly “wanted the moon” from the Lakers, likely including big salary requests, more control over the team and a special travel schedule. But the Lakers went in another direction.

Mike D’Antoni, who holds American and Italian dual citizenship and hails from Mullens, West Virginia, attended Marshall University where he played college basketball and was drafted into the NBA on the second round by the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in 1973.  He went on to play and coach in Europe for several years before returning  to the USA to work with the Denver Nuggets in 1998 for two years followed by two years with the Portland Trail Blazers.  He returned to Benetton Treviso in 2001. In 2002, D’Antoni made his return to the NBA as a Phoenix Suns assistant. In 2003, he was hired with 61 games left in the season as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns where he remained until 2008 before taking over the rains of the New York Knicks.

After two hard years, D’Antoni finally saw some success with the Knicks during the 2010-11 NBA season. The team brought in stars like Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks qualified for the playoffs with a 42-40 record before getting knocked out by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.  D’Antoni resigned as coach of the Knicks on March 14, 2012.   In the summer of 2012, he returned to Team USA as an assistant coachagain under head coach Mike Krzyzewski for 2012 London Olympics with Team USA.  He is widely known as an offensive guru.

On November 12, 2012, the Lakers signed D’Antoni to a multi-year contract.

He already has a relationship with Nash and has coached both Howard and Kobe for Team USA.  All that he is missing now is the approval of the Lakers biggest fan, Jack Nicholson.  Congratulations and Good Luck, Coach Mike!

 

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