In Phil Jackson’s Shadow, D’Antoni Hires Kurt Rambis To Move Forward

In Phil Jackson’s Shadow, D’Antoni Hires Kurt Rambis To Move Forward

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kurt rambis serena wintersThe day after the Los Angeles Lakers announced the official hiring of Kurt Rambis as part of Mike D’Antoni’s coaching staff, D’Antoni hopped on with Mark Willard and Mychal Thompson on ESPN Radio. Rambis, both a fan and Phil Jackson favorite, surprised Lakers Nation yesterday when stating that he too was “shocked” during his initial meeting with Mike D’Antoni, when he approached him about the opportunity.

Rambis, who downplayed his previous criticisms of D’Antoni in an interview with Lakers Nation, was openly critical about the Lakers non-hire of Phil Jackson back in November. Is D’Antoni worried that Rambis could serve as a constant reminder of Phil Jackson?

“Well, first of all I don’t think anybody needs any reminders, they’re doing a pretty good of remembering,” D’Antoni told ESPN LA Radio amidst plenty of chuckling. “When we signed Farmar, somebody was saying ‘There’s going to be a lot of chants when [Farmar’s] sitting on the bench, that’s better than the chants they’re doing now,” D’Antoni joked when referring to the “We Want Phil” chants that have become a norm at Staples Center.

Whether or not you agree with the Lakers hiring of Mike D’Antoni, you’ve got to admit, D’Antoni has done a great job of not allowing the Phil chants to get to him, at least not publicly. That isn’t an easy feat, especially when Jackson’s shadow pleasantly haunts the halls.

“Phil cast a big shadow and he should, he had unbelievable success, a great coach,” D’Antoni told ESPN LA Radio when discussing the addition of Rambis. “It is what is is, and I’m just trying to hire the best guy qualified.”

D’Antoni’s determination to make Rambis a part of his coaching staff is a step in the right direction. D’Antoni admitted that Rambis is a “fan favorite” who “knows the lay of the land around here,” but the bottom line is: he knows how to coach. It would seem that with Rambis’ hiring, D’Antoni is able to separate the criticisms, and do what is best for the organization going forward.

Despite the majority of the Lakers fanbase voicing their dislike for D’Antoni, hiring Rambis was a smart move, (sure, to finally bring some defense to this squad) but also for the overall appearance of the organization.

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