No Phil Jackson re-return.



Tyler Alexander, Sports Editor

In the early hours of Monday morning, a shocked Phil Jackson was not selected to return to the Los Angeles Lakers for a third head coaching stint.  Jackson, an eleven time NBA champion, was passed up for former Nuggets, Knicks, and Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni.  Coach D’Antoni signed a three-year deal worth $12 million, with a club option in the fourth year. 


            D’Antoni hasn’t released any statements about the hiring, and neither has superstar guard Kobe Bryant.  Bryant was sure to avoid the media Monday, using his assisting of teammate Steve Blake for an MRI as means to leave Lakers practice early.  Another notable player who has not spoken about the matter is Hall of Famer Steve Nash.  Nash, a large piece acquired in the Lakers larger than life offseason moves, played for D’Antoni inPhoenix, winning both of his MVP awards with D’Antoni at the helm. 


            There has however been talking outside of these players, including the “Zen Master” himself, Phil Jackson.


            “Saturday morning, Jim Buss called to ask if he could come and visit.  I did not solicit or ask for the opportunity, but I welcomed both he and Mitch Kupchak into my home to discuss the possibility of my return to the Lakers as head coach.  We talked for over an hour and a half.  No contractual terms were discussed and we concluded with a handshake and an understanding that I would have until Monday to come back to them with my decision.”  Jackson said. “The decision is of course theirs to make.  I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Lakers fans who endorsed my return and it is the principal reason why I considered the possibility.”


            Another highly regarded source, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, had this to say on the hiring of Mike D’Antoni:


            “After speaking with several excellent and well-respected coaching candidates, Mr. Buss, Jim and I all agreed that Mike (D’Antoni) was the right person at this time to lead the Lakers forward.  Knowing his style of play and given the current make-up of our roster, we feel Mike is a great fit, and we are excited to have him as our next head coach and hope he will help our team reach its full potential.”


            In a poll conducted by ESPN, 50.3% of Americans said the hiring of D’Antoni was a “good move”, with 49.7% saying it was a “bad move”.  Surprisingly enough, the Zen Master faithful inCaliforniavoted in the favor of a good move.


            D’Antoni is currently anticipated to make his Lakers debut Sunday, November 18, in a home game against the Houston Rockets.