After a disappointing start to the 2012-13 season, the Los Angeles Lakers’ General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced that Mike Brown was fired as head coach.
With the highly anticipated season in full swing and the acquisition of superstars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, the Lakers organization chose to let Brown go and find a new direction.
“The bottom line is that the team is not winning at the pace we expected this team to win, and we didn’t see improvement,” Kupchak said.
The announcement was made hours before the Lakers hosted the Golden State Warriors, in which they won 101-77.
Five games in his second season with the Lakers, Brown proved himself unable to lead the purple and gold into a winning season opener. Going 0-8 in preseason and 2-4 in regular season play, the Lakers set off on a sluggish start.
Upon Brown’s firing, the Lakers were tied with the Trailblazers for the worst record in the western conference.
To make matters worse, newly acquired Steve Nash suffered a small fibula fracture after losing to the Trail Blazers late last month. The injury has Nash on the sidelines with his return questionable until late next week.
With two wins in the regular season, the Lakers played on Sunday against the 2-4 Sacramento Kings where they won 103-90. This was the Lakers second win with Bernie Bickerstaff as interim head coach.
No less than 24 hours after the announcement of Brown’s firing, GM Kupchak and VP Jim Buss spoke with Phil Jackson and Mike D’antoni as possible replacements to fill in as head coach for the Lakers.
While Phil Jackson was the Lakers first choice, they opted to go forward with the younger, more suitable choice. Lakers spokesman, John Black announced Sunday that the team has signed D’antoni to a multi-year contract.
Kupchak says, “Knowing his style of play and given the current makeup of our roster, we feel Mike is a great fit, we are excited to have him as our next head coach and hope he will help our team reach its full potential.”
Considering the relationship D’antoni has with Nash as his former head coach in Phoenix, and with Bryant as his former coach during this year’s Olympics, D’antoni proved to make the best fit as the Lakers move forward this season.