We got a pair of somewhat conflicting stories yesterday regarding the Lakers' coaching search and their decision to hire Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports published a column which suggested that Jackson overplayed his hand and was asking too much of the Lakers, while Jackson's own account painted a significantly different picture. I imagine the truth lies somewhere in between and that more details will continue to leak out, but in the meantime, there are still plenty of stories on the move still coming in. Here's the latest:
- Jackson wasn't the only involved party who was stunned by the Lakers' decision. D'Antoni tells Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News that his first reaction upon getting the call telling him he'd been hired was: "Are you serious?"
- Jackson's long-time friend and assistant coach Kurt Rambis strongly denied to Sam Amick of USA Today that Jackson's demands pushed the Lakers to another candidate: "No money was discussed (in Jackson's interview on Saturday). All of these things that are
out there about partial ownership, and lack of travel, and
no practice time -- all of that stuff is categorically false. None of
those conversations ever happened. Ever. It was about whether or not he
wanted to come and coach the team."
- Dan D'Antoni tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that it could be two weeks before his brother, who is recovering from knee surgery, is able to sit on the Lakers' bench.
- Within a great piece from Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register about the Lakers' decision-making process, Ding notes Jackson's reply when he got the phone call telling him the Lakers front office believed D'Antoni was the best choice for the team. "I don't," Jackson said. "But okay."