L.A. Lakers Hire Mike D'Antoni as Head Coach
Two days after firing head coach Mike Brown, the L.A. Lakers found his replacement: Mike D'Antoni, who formerly coached the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns.
D'Antoni was hired late Sunday, The Associated Press reports, citing confirmation from his and the Laker's agent, Warren LeGarie.
After talks fizzled Saturday between the franchise and ex-Lakers coach Phil Jackson, D'Antoni inked a three-year deal along with a team option for a fourth season.
D'Antoni successfully guided Lakers point guard Steve Nash while serving as head coach for the Suns, and their dynamic resulted in a pair of MVP awards for Nash over the course of five seasons. The coach later ventured eastward to Madison Square Garden, where he oversaw the Knicks for a fruitless four-year run in which the team failed to grab any championship rings. D'Antoni resigned from his post in March.
According to the AP, D'Antoni's potential appointment to Lakers' head coach was greeted enthusiastically by Nash and Kobe Bryant, who also lobbied for Jackson.
On Friday, the team announced that Brown had been "relieved...of his head coaching duties" after losing a dismal four out of five games this season. He was hired by Jim Buss, son of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, to replace the retiring Jackson in the summer of 2011, signing a contract worth $18 million.
The Lakers take on the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday and the Suns Friday.