The Lakers have chosen their next head coach


The Lakers have chosen their next head coach

From Comcast SportsNetLOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Los Angeles Lakers hired Mike D'Antoni late Sunday night, signing the former coach of the Suns and Knicks to replace Mike Brown.The Lakers and D'Antoni's agent, Warren LeGarie, confirmed the deal two days after the Lakers fired Brown five games into the season.D'Antoni agreed to a three-year deal worth 12 million, with a team option for a fourth season.D'Antoni got the high-profile job running the 16-time NBA champions only after the club's top brass extensively discussed the job with former Lakers coach Phil Jackson.The 11-time NBA champion coach met with Lakers owners Jerry and Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak on Saturday to weigh a return for a third stint on Los Angeles' bench.The Lakers instead went with D'Antoni, a respected offensive strategist who coached Lakers point guard Steve Nash in Phoenix during the best years of their respective careers. D'Antoni was less successful during four seasons in New York, but at least restored the once-moribund Knicks to competence before resigning last March."Dr. (Jerry) Buss, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak unanimously agreed that Mike was the best coach for this roster at this time," Lakers spokesman John Black said.The 61-year-old D'Antoni underwent knee replacement surgery earlier this month, and could be physically limited early his tenure. Black said the Lakers aren't certain when D'Antoni will travel to Los Angeles to begin work.Interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff will continue running the Lakers until D'Antoni arrives. Los Angeles beat Sacramento 103-90 on Sunday night, improving to 2-0 under Bickerstaff after a 1-4 start under Brown.The Lakers' next game is Tuesday night against San Antonio at Staples Center.After Brown's dismissal, Nash and Kobe Bryant both expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of playing for D'Antoni, although Bryant also campaigned eagerly for Jackson.Bryant idolized D'Antoni while growing up in Italy, where D'Antoni was a star player for Olimpia Milano in the Italian pro league. D'Antoni also has been an assistant coach on various U.S. national teams featuring Bryant, including the gold medal-winning squad at the London Olympics.Nash won two MVP awards while running D'Antoni's signature up-tempo offense for the final four seasons of the coach's five-year tenure with the Suns.Nash and D'Antoni won at least 54 games each season and reached two Western Conference finals -- and they eliminated Bryant's Lakers from the first round of the playoffs in 2006 and 2007, still the only first-round exits of Kobe's 17-year career.D'Antoni then coached New York to just one playoff appearance and no postseason victories. He also coached the Denver Nuggets during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.But his NBA accomplishments can't measure up to Jackson, who won five titles and reached seven NBA finals during two stints totaling 11 seasons with Los Angeles.Jackson walked away from the club 18 months ago after a second-round playoff sweep by Dallas, and Brown led Los Angeles to a 41-25 mark followed by another second-round playoff defeat last summer.The Lakers then traded for Nash and Dwight Howard, setting up a season of enormous expectations for Brown -- but the Lakers struggled to learn his new, Princeton-influenced offense while playing mediocre defense.After the Lakers stumbled out of the gate while Howard and Bryant missed preseason games to preserve their health, Nash incurred a small fracture in his leg during the Lakers' second regular-season game, keeping him out of the lineup for their past five games and for at least another week.The Lakers have improved to 3-4 under Bickerstaff after following up their winless preseason with four losses in their first five regular-season games, the club's worst start since 1993.Despite his reputation for offensive acumen, D'Antoni's NBA teams typically have played fairly solid defense, statistically speaking -- and they never had the imposing Howard or defensive stopper Metta World Peace in their lineups.Nash had his best NBA seasons as the versatile quarterback of the Suns' offense under D'Antoni, and point guard Jeremy Lin became a star on the Knicks last season while filling much the same role.D'Antoni resigned late last season following a six-game losing streak, surprising many observers, and former assistant coach Mike Woodson led the Knicks to the playoffs.Phoenix visits Staples Center on Friday.

Iguodala relives LeBron's Game 7 block: JR Smith 'made the play'

Iguodala relives LeBron's Game 7 block: JR Smith 'made the play'

With a little less than two minutes remaining in Game 7 of last year's NBA Finals, Andre Iguodala thought he had a dunk or a layup.

But LeBron James sprinted back in transition and delivered an iconic blocked shot.

Iguodala recently spoke with ESPN's Chris Haynes about the play.

"If J.R. (Smith) is not there, I'm dunking it," Iguodala declared. "Well, I don't know if I'm dunking, though, because I was about to die out there. But I give him all respect. When he blocked it, I thought somebody got shot. I laugh about it all the time. People try to joke on me. I still get mentions all day from fans always talking about the block.

"I'm like, 'Man, that s--- was so dope to me, too.' I was a fan. That s--- was amazing. When he blocked it, I was like, 'Damn, somebody got shot.' I thought it was funny. Somebody just made a good play. What you want me to do? If you enjoy the game of basketball, you should just be like, 'Dude made a great play. F--- it.'"

In a new commercial, LeBron calls the block the "defining moment" of his career.

According to Iguodala, LeBron needs to thank J.R. Smith.

"I looked back at it too, and had I came in from a different angle, I could have [dunked it]," Iguodala explained to Haynes. "But you know who made the play? J.R. made the play. Because I came in thinking dunk and then I took off and he swiped and I had to move the ball. If you look, I moved the ball. I just tried to finish the play.

"People don't realize, somebody just made a great play. There's nothing to change about somebody making a great play because I even thought I could have went off to the other side [of the rim], but [LeBron] was so high over the rim, he would have had both sides covered. I mean, I wouldn't have changed anything about it. If somebody just makes a great play, you just give them respect for making a great play."

Steve Kerr doesn't really care that much about blowout loss to Spurs

Steve Kerr doesn't really care that much about blowout loss to Spurs

The Warriors will play their second game of the season on Friday night in New Orleans.

But that doesn't mean they are done talking about the 29-point loss to the Spurs on Opening Night.

"We played a team that just came in and beat the crap out of us, frankly," Kerr told 95.7 The Game's Damon Bruce on Thursday. "They're the one team I would say, when you're adding a lot of new parts and pieces like we are, you either don't want to play the Spurs on Opening Night or you do. The reason you don't want to play them is because of what happened the other night -- they're gonna execute, they know who they are, they got all that continuity from the roster that they've had for years.

"The reason you do want to play them is because they'll expose your weaknesses right away. I don't really care that much about the loss to be honest with you. I felt bad for the fans, who had to suffer through that. But as far as our team goes, even though it was embarrassing and humiliating and nobody slept very well that night, it really opened up every weakness that we had. And it'll sharpen our focus, and we'll be able to work on a lot of things based on that game."

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In the game's aftermath, a lot of the focus was centered around the idea that the Warriors missed Andrew Bogut's presence on the defensive end.

The Warriors surrendered 21 offensive rebounds and acknowledged they miscommunicated many times within their scheme.

"Every team that you put together is gonna be different," Kerr explained. "Obviously, we had to move Andrew (Bogut) in order to get Kevin Durant. Even Boges himself said, 'Hey, if I'm the GM, I'd do that, too' ... we were really lucky to get Zaza (Pachulia) and David West, and they're gonna play huge roles on our team, but they're different players.

"It's our job as coaches to figure out what works best and the players have to get to know one another. And they'll get more comfortable as they go. We should be a very good defensive team. We won't have that shot blocking at the rim but we'll have a lot of other really good components to work with and we'll figure it out."

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Kerr also discussed the team's mentality in regards to the regular season. Is 74 wins possible?

"I think that record is impossible to break. I don't care who we have on our team. What we did last year to break the 72-win record was incredible. I don't think that record will ever be broken, but of course, we're gonna be asked about it because we've got Kevin Durant.

"It's unfathomable for any team to win 74 games ... anybody who predicted that we were gonna win 74 games, doesn't get the NBA. It doesn't work that way ... it's not even something that enters our mind.

"The most important thing for us is to win when it matters in June. We didn't do that last year, so that's the focus."