The Los Angeles Lakers have found their new general just four days after firing head coach Mike Brown. ESPN reported Monday morning that the Lakers have signed Coach Mike D’Antoni to a four year contract. A league source reported D’Antoni signed a three-year deal worth an estimated $12 million with a fourth year option.
After a rough 1-4 start, the Lakers parted ways with two year coach Mike Brown. Rumors began swirling that legendary coach Phil Jackson was the main man for the job. Jackson had coached the Lakers for the better part of the 2000’s, leading them to five NBA championships in his time spent as head coach. But after meeting with Jackson, the Lakers organization couldn’t reach negotiations to land their ex-head coach.
D’Antoni spent his last four seasons in New York coaching the Knicks. In the five years before that, he was head coach of the Phoenix Suns, where he helped point guard Steve Nash, now with the Lakers, win two MVP awards. The Lakers organization now hope he can bring his talent and winning mentality to LA, where he will reunite with his former MVP point guard.
D’Antoni comes into his new job with a supreme crop of talent surrounding him. After signing all-stars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard over the summer, the Lakers were expected to be back in championship contention. And let’s not forget Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA’s most dominant players in the history of the game, who is still seeking his 6th NBA title, a number that would tie his number of championship rings with Michael Jordan.
Kobe has expressed enthusiasm about his new coach. He even grew up watching D’Antoni play in Italy. He knows he does not have many years left in the league. He is in his 16th year and does not have time to waste trying to rebuild his team to a title contender. Kobe wants to win, and he wants to win now.
D’Antoni gives the Lakers that chance to win. But he will have the weight of the city on his shoulders, as pressure to succeed is at an all-time high. The offensive minded coach has the talent around him to do so, and Laker fans hope he can lead them to the organizations 17th NBA title.
D’Antoni will make his debut with the Lakers Tuesday night when they travel to San Antonio to face the Spurs.