Mike D’Antoni plans to coach Lakers on Sunday

Mike D'Antoni won NBA coach of the year in his first full season as head coach of the Phoenix Suns.
(Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

Just finished interviewing new Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni by telephone, and how’s that for a fine start in town — he’s talking to Page 2.

It’s going to take a little while to transcribe tape and write a column, but here’s how we began Tuesday morning.

“Got bad news for you, Mike. You’re losing 73% to 11% to Phil Jackson in a poll of who people would like to see coaching the Lakers.”


D’Antoni laughs. “I’ve got some really close friends who are Laker fans and they were disappointed I got the job.”

Reminded that the fans in Staples Center have been chanting, “We want Phil,” D’Antoni says, “They can’t chant, ‘We want Mike,’ because they got him.”

D’Antoni is still recovering from reconstructive surgery on his right knee. He’s getting around now with one crutch or a cane.

He will fly to Los Angeles on Wednesday, meet his team Thursday and says he’s probably aiming to make his Lakers coaching debut Sunday.

“When I feel better I’ll start coaching, and I think miraculously I’ll start feeling better when Steve [Nash] is feeling better,” he says. “I’ve already tried coaching without him and that didn’t work out too well, so I’m thinking I’ll be smart this time.”

If the tape recorder batteries hold up, more to come soon.



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