Back in 2012, the Los Angeles Lakers appeared to be on the verge of bringing back a legend in the form of 11-time NBA head coaching champion, Phil Jackson. Talks with Jackson were thought to be progressing well, following the abrupt firing of Mike Brown only five games into the 2012-13 NBA season.
With Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in the fold, the Lakers were considered to be legitimate NBA title contenders, but things never seemed to gel under Brown. Jackson seemed to be the ideal choice to come in and right the ship immediately. All signs pointed to the Lakers brass making that happen, but in the end the team chose to go with Mike D’Antoni instead.
Recently, Jackson spoke about how things never came to fruition in November of 2012, suggesting that the Lakers were looking for a long-term option at head coach, rather than a one-and-done like Phil wanted to be at the time. Here is an excerpt from Jackson’s update in his autobiography, Eleven Rings via New York Daily News:
“Most fans know what happened next. Mitch called me around midnight on Sunday and told me they had decided to hire another coach, Mike D’Antoni. I was a little stunned at first, but, on reflection, I realized why things fell apart so quickly. I was thinking of the job as a one-season gig, but Jimmy and Mitch were looking for a coach who could help them rebuild the team over the long haul. They were also eager to turn the Lakers back into the sort of fast-paced, high-scoring team they were in the Magic Johnson “Showtime” era — and D’Antoni was certainly a coach who could make that happen.”
With the Lakers grooming Howard to be the new face of the franchise in Los Angeles, it makes sense that Kupchak and Buss would want more security at head coach than Jackson coming in for one season. D’Antoni was an ideal coach for the style of play the team desired, but turned out not to be the missing piece to the championship puzzle and resigned after the 2013-14 NBA season.
Now that D’Antoni has resigned and Jackson is the new president of the New York Knicks, the Lakers are left searching for a new head coach, once again. Byron Scott continues to be considered the favorite to be D’Antoni’s successor, but has yet to be given an offer from the team to coach next season.
Ultimately, many believe Scott will be the head coach of the Lakers next season, but it is safe to say Kupchak and company are wisely taking their time with the decision.
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