LOS ANGELES, Calif.–The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Mike D’Antoni to succeed Mike Brown as coach of the team.
D’Antoni, who coached the New York Knicks for the last four seasons and the Phoenix Suns for five seasons before that, agreed to a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth season. The Los Angeles Times put the value of the deal at $12 million.
D’Antoni reportedly got the job only after negotiations broke down with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who is said to have met with Lakers owners Jerry and Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak on Saturday.
Jackson had been the favorite to coach the Lakers until the team learned of his demands, which included a stake in ownership, according to an unnamed source cited by the Times.
Kobe Bryant told ESPN, “I love PJ (Phil Jackson) but I’m very excited about D’Antoni.”
D’Antoni coached Lakers point guard Steve Nash during his time in Phoenix. Nash won two MVP awards under D’Antoni’s leadership.
“Obviously I think everyone knows how much I love Mike,” ESPN quotes Nash as saying prior to D’Antoni’s hiring. “If (D’Antoni) were to coach, it would be seamless and terrific for me, and I think the team as well.”
Team spokesman John Black said “Dr. Jerry Buss, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak were unanimous that Mike D’Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time.”