COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Lakers shocked the world when they announced the hiring of Mike D'Antoni, not Phil Jackson, to replace ousted head coach Mike Brown.
The news was a surprise to Jackson as well.
It appears that egos got in the way here, and if that's the case, then shame on the Lakers' front office for letting that happen. D'Antoni is a world-class basketball mind and a top-tier coach, but Jackson is the greatest coach of all time and a living legend. The failure to bring him in is an indictment on both the severity of the rift between Lakers vice president Jim Buss and Jackson and the stubbornness of the team not to push that aside to hammer out a deal.
The 11-time NBA champion wanted some concessions from the Lakers such as travel restrictions, a salary consistent with what he previously made and some control over basketball decisions. He deserved all of it.
The reports that Jackson was prepared to take the job and had a belief that it was was his to turn down show just how brash the move to hire D'Antoni so quickly was. If Jackson had turned down the job for whatever reason, moving forward with another coach would have made sense.
But he didn't, and he's just as taken aback by it all as the rest of the league, Lakers fans and every NBA analyst is on the matter. It didn't need to go down this way, but it did, and now if the Lakers fail again, it will mark a whole new set of circumstances that could spell trouble for the organization.
D'Antoni is known as an offensive-minded coach, and the Lakers' biggest deficiencies early in the year were primarily on the defensive end, despite the team's insistence otherwise. In seven games in 2012-13, the Lakers are ranked 10th in points per game (98.6) on offense, but they've allowed 94.4 points per contest on the defensive end, a mark good for 14th in the NBA.
Don't expect that number to get any better with D'Antoni. The move to bring him in will put a better product on the court in terms of entertainment value without question. But in L.A., winning matters, an there's no indication that the Lakers' newest man on the sidelines will be able to bring this talented team any closer to a 17th title than Brown or any other coach not named Phil Jackson could have.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He is also the Editor of Sports Out West.
You can follow him on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets
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