When the Los Angeles Lakers relieved Mike Brown of his coaching duties, the buzz was Phil Jackson was all but a shoe-in to return to the team. And so he wasn’t the the only one surprised by the Lakers announcement they have hired Mike D’Antoni for the job.
ESPN reports Jackson is “stunned” by the decision, having expected to re-join the team immediately, following a weekend of negotiations between his agent and Lakers reps.
In light of complications brought about by Jackson’s triangle offense, however, a team spokesman says it was “unanimous that D’Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time.”
There were rumors Jackson had asked for an eight-figure salary, flexibility to skip road games, and part ownership in the team. But a source tells ESPN no salary figure was ever mentioned, and “Phil would come back only to win, and skipping games doesn’t lead to winning.”
D’Antoni has previously coached the Phoenix Suns and the New York Knicks. He was assistant coach for the USA Summer Olympics team in 2012, where he worked with Lakers star Kobe Bryant.