Huffpost Sports
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Etan Thomas Headshot

15 Questions About the Lakers Head Coach Circus

Posted: Updated:
Print
Getty Images
Getty Images

1. It was reported that Mitch Kupchak called Phil Jackson in the middle of the night (after telling him that he had until Monday to make a decision) and told him that when it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers you will -- dramatic pause and Maury Povich voice -- not be the new head coach. Hasn't Phil Jackson earned the right to be treated with a little more respect than that?

2. Here is Phil Jackson's official statement. After reading this, should Laker fans be just as mad as Fox News was after election night?

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 the head coach. We talked for over an hour and a half. No contractual terms were discussed and we concluded with a hand shake and an understanding that I would have until Monday (today) to come back to them with my decision. I did convey to them that I did have the confidence that I could do the job. I was awakened at midnight on Sunday by a phone call from Mitch Kupchak. He told me that the Lakers had signed Mike D'Antoni to a three-year agreement and that they felt he was the best coach for the team. The decision is of course theirs to make. I am gratified by the groundswell of support from the Laker fans who endorsed my return and it is the principal reason why I considered the possibility.

3. How do you fire a coach after five games? That is not only insulting but just bad business. I played for Coach Eddie Jordan with the Wizards and that Princeton offense takes awhile to learn. Did everyone really think they would run it with the fluidity of Princeton overnight? That's about as ridiculous as people thinking that President Obama was going to clean up eight years of mismanagement overnight, but that's another topic.

4. Scoop Jackson listed a number of issues that Mike Brown had working against him. Are these legitimate things that should have been taken into consideration before his early axing?

• The Slam cover jinx. (Dwight Howard graces the latest cover.)

• The karma of Brian Shaw. (He was widely thought to be first in line for the head coaching job when Phil Jackson retired. Instead the organization decided on Brown.)

• The injuries. (Steve Nash's leg, Howard's recovering from a back injury, Bryant's foot, etc.)

• The age. (As many players over 30 as the New York Knicks.)

• The "Dwight Howard is kinda/sorta overrated" whispers/reality. (Listen to Shaq any night on TNT.)

• The void of defense at the point guard position.

• The absence of Derek Fisher.

• The seeing Lamar Odom every day in L.A., but in another uniform.

• The David Stern/Chris Paul veto hangover.

• The inability to meet or handle the new expectations.

• The pressure.

• The Clippers.

• The pressure of trying to reclaim status in L.A. that they lost to the Clippers.

• The Princeton offense.

• The true lack of commitment to defense.

• The reality that no one can follow Phil Jackson. (Look what happened to Rudy Tomjanovich.)

• The nonexistent chemistry.

• The unestablished leadership.

5. Didn't the way the Lakers fired Mike Brown lack overall integrity? They made the statement after the loss Thursday that his job is safe, we have confidence in him, etc., then 48 hours later announce he is fired? Wow (SMH).

6. If you are going to fire someone after five games, you better have someone else in line waiting and if you are going to do that, who else do you have in line but Phil Jackson?

7. Is winning a championship really their immediate goal? Or was this entire circus more about egos?

8. How many championships has the triangle offense won? How many championships has D'Antoni's offense is your defense strategy won (not including his two Italian League titles)?

9. What exactly is their issue with not wanting to hire Brian Shaw? Is it just because Phil Jackson announced that he wanted Shaw to be his predecessor when he stepped down and they want to be able to say that they did it without the "Zin Master"? What is their real reluctance or refusal to hire Brian Shaw?

10. OK, nothing against D'Antoni, but I really don't understand this pick. Do they think he is going to do a better job then he did with the Knicks?

11. Correct me if I am wrong here, but didn't the Lakers have games where Kobe scored 30-40 points and they still lost? Isn't their issue more defense? So why would they hire a coach who cares nothing about defense? He has no rings, hasn't been to the finals, plays one side of the court meaning only offense. Completely one dimensional and you give this cat a three-year contract? Can someone explain?

12. Is it safe to say that we are probably going to be seeing a lot more of that "Kobe Death Stare" from the Black Mamba this upcoming season ?

13. From Phil Jackson's agent Todd Musburger:

"There were no demands, outrageous or otherwise," Musburger said. "To say that he wanted control or that he wanted a zillion dollars or that he wanted equity, those were not topics discussed in the meeting between Kupchak, Buss and Phil. If the Lakers didn't spread those things, the fact they didn't take an affirmative stance to correct the record is very troublesome."

So why would the Lakers make those accusations? Do they really lack that much integrity or is there a perfectly good explanation to all of this?

14. Even If Phil Jackson wanted full say over all basketball decisions, you are telling me that that's too much for the man who has won 11 championships to ask? Six Eastern Conference Championships, seven-time Western Conference Championships, coach of the year in '96, four-time NBA All Star game head coach -- doesn't his body of work speak for itself?

15. Can anyone disagree with what Chris Webber said on this clip on NBA TV?

Isn't D'Antoni a proven quitter? Didn't he quit on Phoenix and the Knicks in the middle of the season when things were going bad? Is that the type of coach Laker fans expect to take them to the championship?

From Our Partners