The Los Angeles Lakers are on the verge of turning over a new leaf with Mike D’Antoni coming in to replace Mike Brown as head coach. D’Antoni’s timetable for his Lakers debut was uncertain, with the 61-year-old recovering from knee-replacement surgery.
Although there’s been four full days to process the hiring of D’Antoni instead 11-time NBA champion Phil Jackson, the decision made by the Lakers’ front office on Sunday still has many wondering why it went down the way it did.
Lakers legend Magic Johnson has been among the most vocal former players and current NBA analysts to voice their opinion. Magic believes Lakers VP Jim Buss dropped the ball with this move and may have made exactly the same mistake bringing in D’Antoni as he did with Brown after Jackson walked away for a second time.
Even though Kobe Bryant has publicly endorsed the hiring of D’Antoni with only good things to say about his new head coach, the five-time NBA champion still believes it’s a bit strange that the team would pass on hiring Jackson for a third tour via Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News:
“It’s very strange,” Bryant said after the Lakers’ 84-82 loss Tuesday to the San Antonio Spurs. “You would think that organizations and other coaches would try to learn from Phil. That’s what they should do.
“If you have a coach that has won more than anybody, you would want to study and analyze them and wonder why that is the case. They haven’t done it.”
There’s no doubt that Jackson being passed over in favor of D’Antoni will resonate for the rest of the season. If the Lakers begin to struggle under D’Antoni or continue fail to live up to expectations moving forward, the 11-time NBA champion’s name will continue to surface throughout the season with the Lakers’ front office to blame for possibly not making the right decision.