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Mike D'Antoni to Coach the Lakers

Photo by =Manny= via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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According to LA Times' Mike Bresnahan and ESPN's J.A. Adande, Mike D'Antoni will be the next head coach of the Lakers. The Lakers fired head coach Mike Brown on Friday after starting the season 1-4.

The hitch is that D'Antoni will not be able to start until later in the week at the earliest. D'Antoni underwent knee surgery two weeks ago and will need to receive medical clearance to coach the team. Fortunately the Lakers are 2-0 under interim head coach Bernie Bickerstaff with double-digit home wins over the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.

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D'Antoni was head coach of the Phoenix Suns from 2003 to 2008 where his "seven seconds or less" offense took the Suns to consecutive Western Conference Finals in 2004-05 and 2005-06 with Steve Nash at the helm. After the 2007-08 season, he signed on to lead the New York Knicks before resigning after 42 games last season.

Of course Kobe Bryant gets along well with D'Antoni having been a fan of his when growing up in Italy. D'Antoni played with Olimpia Milano and helped the team with five Italian League titles and two Euroleague titles.

All of this comes on the heels of the Lakers also courting former head coach Phil Jackson for a third stint guiding the Lakers. While reports over the weekend said that the job was Jackson's for the taking, it is unknown if Jackson decided to pass on the job.

General manager Mitch Kupchak said that money wouldn't be an issue with Jackson, but perhaps personnel control and Jackson's reluctance to travel could have been a tipping point.

Regardless the poor folks at STAPLES Center who spent two games chanting "WE WANT PHIL" must be crushed.

Update: The LA Times is reporting that the contract is for four years.

Update 2: According to Bresnahan, the contract is three years for $12 million with a team option for a fourth year.

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