After a semi-disastrous 2012-2013 campaign, the first domino of a long off-season for the Los Angeles Lakers appears to have dropped. Top assistant Bernie Bickerstaff, and former NBA star Chuck Person were reportedly (according to multiple sources) relieved of their assistant coaching duties on Monday.
Bickerstaff is a long-time NBA presence, and he has served in a number of capacities including head coach for multiple teams (and the 1986-1987 Coach of the Year winner), and he was the interim head coach after the removal of Mike Brown early in the season. Many people (including myself) thought that Bickerstaff would have been a better choice than D’Antoni, and his reputation seems to be impeachable in the league.
Person was the final hold-over from the Phil Jackson regime (he was hired in 2009), and the “Rifleman” played in the league for over a decade. It won’t take long for Person to grab a seat on one of the 30 NBA benches, and he’s established himself in the Association.
This seems to be the first of many moves, but D’Antoni’s reported lean toward a smaller staff is the stated culprit of the downsizing. D’Antoni has been on and off of the hot seat as the off-season approaches, as public run-ins with both Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard coupled with the team’s less-than-stellar record have brought out detractors. That said, he has a very lucrative contract, and that alone will likely keep him on the sidelines.
The dominoes will continue to fall, but they began on Monday, and it will be must-see TV in Los Angeles for every minute until the 2013-2014 season begins.