Lakers Hire Mike D’Antoni

November 12 2012 at 3:17pm CDT By Sean Highkin

3:17pm: The Lakers have officially announced their hiring of D'Antoni in a press release.

"After speaking with several excellent and well-respected coaching candidates, Dr. [Jerry] Buss, Jim [Buss] and I all agreed that Mike was the right person at this time to lead the Lakers forward," said GM Mitch Kupchak in the statement. "Knowing his style of play and given the current make-up of our roster, we feel Mike is a great fit, are excited to have him as our next head coach and hope he will help our team reach its full potential."

2:04am: The Los Angeles Lakers have officially hired their new coach, with the team confirming late Sunday night that Mike D'Antoni will replace Mike Brown on the Lakers' bench. Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter links) first reported the news, adding (via Twitter) that D'Antoni's contract is for three guaranteed years and $12MM, plus a fourth-year team option. The club is expected to introduce its new head coach at a press conference later this week.

Following the firing of Brown on Friday, the Lakers had been pursuing Phil Jackson to return to the team for a third time after his 2011 retirement. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Jackson was prepared to accept the job if negotiations progressed well on Monday, and was "stunned" to learn the Lakers had chosen D'Antoni (Twitter links).

While there were rumblings suggesting Jackson's demands were too high, ESPN.com's Chris Broussard hears from both sides that rumors of Jackson's exorbitant asking price were overblown (Twitter link). Broussard adds that the Lakers chose D'Antoni over Jackson in part because the team felt the Triangle offense would've been too complex for the team to learn on the fly, and that the system wasn't a great fit for the current roster (Twitter links).

Additionally, TNT's David Aldridge (Twitter link) notes that Jackson would have wanted total control over the franchise and all personnel decisions, an arrangement similar to Pat Riley's in Miami. ESPN.com's Arash Markazi also tweets that the Lakers wanted more stability than the year-to-year commitment Jackson would offer.

D'Antoni, who resigned as head coach of the New York Knicks in March of 2012, will be reunited in Los Angeles with Steve Nash, whom he coached as a member of the Phoenix Suns from 2004 to 2008. As Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports tweets, D'Antoni continues to recover from knee surgery in New York, and will require clearance before he can fly to Los Angeles later this week. When D'Antoni eventually takes over from interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff, he'll be bringing his brother Dan D'Antoni with him as an assistant, reports Aldridge (via Twitter).

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

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