The Lakers search for a new coach ended in surprising fashion with the hiring of Mike D’Antoni over legendary coach, Phil Jackson on Monday. Newly hired Laker coach, D’Antoni, is stoked to have another chance to win an NBA championship with his former point guard, Steve Nash.
“I am so happy to be back with Steve,” D’Antoni is saying late on Monday morning. “To get one more chance to have him run the thing the way he did for me before (in Phoenix), well, that’s the kind of thing you never think is going to happen. But now it has.”
Then D’Antoni admitted how shocked he was when the Lakers called him to tell him he was the man for the job.
“Sure I did,” he said. “For sure I did. Didn’t everybody? When I got the call that it was me, my first reaction was, ‘Are you serious?’
However, the hiring of D’Antoni could be delayed due to the recent knee-replacement surgery D’Antoni had done just 2 1/2 weeks ago. According to Mike’s brother Dan, he still needs the doctor’s clearance before returning to the bench. Which means Lakers fans may have to wait before seeing the exciting up tempo offense be implemented coach D’Antoni.
It could be two weeks before Mike D’Antoni is safely allowed to coach the Lakers from the bench, according to his brother Dan D’Antoni.
D’Antoni, who still lives in Westchester, underwent major knee-replacement surgery 2 1/2 weeks ago and will need doctor’s clearance to get on the bench. Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff said D’Antoni is expected to fly to L.A. tomorrow for his introductory press conference.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for him,’’ Dan D’Antoni told The Post. “New York was a great place to be and this is one of the top franchises in the league. It’s top end. Mike’s a good coach and they’re good players.’’