Before the Los Angeles Lakers decided to go with Mike D’Antoni as the new head coach of the team, Dr. Jerry Buss was consulted on the decision while in the hospital. Buss absorbed all the information, and the Phil Jackson possibility, but ultimately decided D’Antoni was the right man for the job.
Jim Buss spoke with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne about a number of different topics recently and explained his father’s desire to go with D’Antoni rather than Jackson:
“We did the coaching search and interviews and fed him all the information,” Buss said. “And he said, ‘This is who I want. D’Antoni’s the man.’ Knowing that in the future we had to rebuild, he felt that Phil was not a guy to rebuild. It’s not fair to him. It was actually more of a respectful thought towards Phil.”
All indications pointed to the team giving Jackson the cold shoulder as a result of hiring D’Antoni. Despite that seemingly being the case, Buss claims that it was a respectful gesture to Jackson not to hire him over D’Antoni. Buss and company didn’t want Phil to go through the rebuilding process during the post Kobe Bryant era and felt D’Antoni was more suited for that role.
Apparently, Dr. Buss was for the move and believed D’Antoni was the right man for the job.
Regardless of the team’s intentions, the hiring of D’Antoni had quite the backlash last season with the fans and media not exactly seeing the logic to the move. Not only were the fans baffled by the move to chose D’Antoni over Jackson, but Dwight Howard wasn’t particularly happy either and that may have led to his departure this summer.
Only time will tell if hiring D’Antoni was truly the right move for this team with the veteran head coach being put to the test next season and throughout the rest of his time in Los Angeles.
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