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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Lakers Introduce New Head Coach

Mike D'Antoni signed a three-year contract worth $12 million with the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers have scheduled a press conference at the Toyota Sports Center for Thursday to introduce Mike D'Antoni as their new coach.

The media the Lakers' practice as the new head coach Mike D'Antoni was introduced. (Photo by ATVN/Julia Deng)
The media the Lakers' practice as the new head coach Mike D'Antoni was introduced. (Photo by ATVN/Julia Deng)

The selection of D'Antoni as coach has drawn criticism, most notably from team legend Earvin "Magic'' Johnson, who serves as team vice president.

Johnson said Wednesday to ESPN, "To me, they've made two critical mistakes. First hiring Mike Brown. He wasn't the right coach. He's a great coach, but not the right coach for the Lakers. And I don't feel Mike D'Antoni is the right coach for the Lakers, especially when you have Phil Jackson sitting out there, who wanted to be the Laker coach and Jim Buss decided he didn't want Phil Jackson, he wanted Mike D'Antoni."

Jim Buss, the Lakers' executive vice president of player personnel, is also the son of the team's owner, Jerry Buss.

Johnson said, "Love Dr. Buss, I don't believe in Jim Buss."

D'Antoni was hired on Sunday, two days after Brown was fired following the team's 1-4 start.

"After speaking with several excellent and well-respected coaching candidates, Dr. Buss, Jim and I all agreed that Mike was the right person at this time to lead the Lakers forward," said Mitch Kupchak, general manager of the Lakers.

"Knowing our style of play and given the current makeup of our roster, we feel Mike is a great fit, are excited to have him and hope he will help our team reach its full potential."

All-star guard Kobe Bryant called D'Antoni "an offensive genius" and said, "The offense that he installed for our U.S. team is the offense that we've run to the tune of two gold medals."

Bryant played on the 2008 and 2012 Olympic teams, where D'Antoni served as assistant coach.

He continued his support of D'Antoni saying, the team will "be fine" under D'Antoni's leadership.

D'Antoni coached the New York Knicks for the 2008-2009 season before resigning in the middle of March when the team was 18-24. Before that he had coached the Phoenix Suns 22 games into the 2003-2004 season, remaining with the team through the 2007-2008 season.
He officially began his NBA head coaching career with the Denver Nuggets during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.

D'Antoni's regular-season record is 388-339, a .534 winning percentage, and has a 26-29 career record in
the playoffs -- a .473 winning percentage.

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