Lakers new head coach is Mike D'Antoni, not Phil Jackson

Jeff Gross

While a flirtation with the Zen Master drew most of the headlines, L.A. decided to replace Mike Brown with Steve Nash's former coach in a stunning move late Sunday night.

While most of the East Coast was fast asleep, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times broke this story late Sunday night.

According to Bresnahan, Phil Jackson was "asking for the moon" in negotiations with the LA front office, which prompted them to move towards Mike D'Antoni, the former coach of the Suns and the Knicks.

D'Antoni, of course, is best known for his time in Phoenix with new Lakers guard Steve Nash. Nash ran D'Antoni's "Seven Seconds or Less" offense to perfection, winning two MVP's and defeating L.A. in two memorable first-round playoff series.

After giving Mike Brown a little over a year to prove himself, the Lakers are committing themselves to D'Antoni with a guaranteed 3-year $12 million deal that includes a team option for the fourth year.

What this means not only just for Nash, but also for Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard, will be watched intently by everyone in the NBA over the next few months.

Kobe's history with his new coach is one of the more intriguing sub-plots of this story. It goes back all the way to his days as a kid in Italy, where he grew up watching a young D'Antoni star for Milan.

D'Antoni, who is recovering from a knee-replacement surgery, will reportedly ease his way into the job, with Bernie Bickerstaff continuing to fill in as the interim coach and a press conference announcing the hire to be held early this week.

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