Lakers choose D'Antoni's offense over Jackson's triangle

Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:48pm EST
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(Reuters) - The controversial decision by the Los Angeles Lakers to appoint Mike D'Antoni as new head coach over 11-time NBA championship winner and fan favorite Phil Jackson ultimately hinged on playing style, the team said on Tuesday.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told reporters that no agreement was reached with Jackson about his possible return to the franchise where he won five NBA titles and that D'Antoni's offense-minded approach was viewed as the best way forward.

D'Antoni was signed on a three-year deal for $12 million on Monday, less than 48 hours after the Lakers management had met with Hall of Fame coach Jackson at his Playa del Rey home.

"We never offered a job, and he never indicated he would coach the team," Kupchak said of the meeting with Jackson. "It was a basketball discussion revolving around a lot of questions.

"Phil said he needed more time. I asked him how much more time, and he said he'd get back to (us) on Monday.

"I said, 'Phil, I have a job to do and I'm going to have to continue my search and interview candidates.' He nodded that he understood. So we did what I indicated we would do."

Immediately after leaving Jackson's home, Kupchak said he began discussions with former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks coach D'Antoni.

The following day, Kupchak, Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss and executive vice president Jim Buss reviewed D'Antoni's credentials. After several further phone calls with the coach, they offered him the job.

"It revolved almost completely around the personnel that we have on the team and the style of play we saw going forward for the team," Kupchak explained.   Continued...

New York Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni gestures during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Texas March 6, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Stone