Lakers Spurn Phil Jackson, Hire Mike D'Antoni

Jackson reportedly 'stunned'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 12, 2012 7:24 AM CST

(Newser) – The Los Angeles Lakers hired Mike D'Antoni (formerly of the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks) as their new head coach last night, passing over longtime on-again off-again coach Phil Jackson. D'Antoni signed a three-year, $12 million deal around 11:30 last night. Jackson was ready to take the job, and was "stunned" when the team called to say they were going a different direction, a league source tells ESPN.

The Lakers released a statement saying that owner Jerry Buss, GM Mitch Kupchack, and the rest of the front office were "unanimous that D'Antoni was the best coach for the team." Sources say that while Jackson's triangle offense might have helped Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, they believed D'Antoni would work better with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. But Bryant says he's happy with the hire. "I love PJ, but I'm very excited about D'Antoni," he said.

In this Feb. 4, 2012, file photo, then-New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni reacts to a play in a game against the New Jersey Nets at Madison Square Garden.
In this Feb. 4, 2012, file photo, then-New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni reacts to a play in a game against the New Jersey Nets at Madison Square Garden.   (Bill Kostroun)
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, puts up a shot as Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson defends during the second half ofa game, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, left, puts up a shot as Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson defends during the second half ofa game, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, in Los Angeles.   (Mark J. Terrill)
Dwight Howard, left, puts up a shot as Sacramento Kings forward James Johnson defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Nov. 11, 2012, in Los Angeles.
Dwight Howard, left, puts up a shot as Sacramento Kings forward James Johnson defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Nov. 11, 2012, in Los Angeles.   (Mark J. Terrill)
In this Feb. 22, 2012, file photo, then-New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni gestures in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks in  New York.
In this Feb. 22, 2012, file photo, then-New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni gestures in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks in New York.   (Kathy Willens)
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