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. (Read more Phil Jackson stories.)