When the news broke early this morning that the Los Angeles Lakers had chosen Mike D’Antoni to fill their vacant head coaching job over the legendary Phil Jackson, many around the basketball community were shocked. D’Antoni was considered the team’s second-option to become the coach but something changed in the wee hours of the morning.
While many fans and analysts were shocked by the decision, so was Phil Jackson. According to ESPN, Jackson was ready to fly out to Los Angeles to return as the Lakers coach and he was “stunned” when he learned the team had chosen Mike D’Antoni.
Phil Jackson was prepared to return to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday morning if negotiations between his agent and the team went well, a league source told ESPNLosAngeles.com late Sunday night.
When the Lakers called to tell Jackson that they had instead chosen Mike D’Antoni to be their next head coach, he was “stunned,” according to the source, because he had been under the impression “it was his job to turn down” although no formal offer had ever been made.
Instead, the Lakers went with D’Antoni, believing he was a better fit for their current roster, sources told ESPN.
The main issue with bringing back Jackson was his use of the triangle offense. Lakers officials decided that D’Antoni’s high pace offense is better suited for the roster Los Angeles has which struggled to pick up Mike Brown’s Princeton-style offense.