Lakers Hire Mike D'Antoni Over Phil Jackson: Why Money Was Not the Deciding Factor

Lakers Hire Mike D'Antoni Over Phil Jackson: Why Money Was Not the Deciding Factor
Mike D'Antoni is probably excited to join a winning franchise. (Image/LA Times)

Money was not the issue with Phil Jackson rejoining the Los Angeles Lakers as its head coach.

In a stunning move, Mike D’Antoni was named the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers late Sunday night, taking over for interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff after the 16 time NBA Championship team fired its previous full time head coach Mike Brown after a dismal 1-12 preseason and regular season record.

Mike D’Antoni’s contract is widely reported to be worth $12 million over 3 years with a club option for a fourth year.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard initially reported Phil Jackson was seeking a two year deal in the $10-12 million per year range from the club, including certain travel restrictions and personnel control.

According to NBC Sports NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski,  the Lakers still must buyout fired coach Mike Brown out of his contract, who is still owed $11 million on his initial 4 year deal he signed with the Lakers last year.

Although the Lakers would have been potentially looking at as much as almost $16 million a year expenses for a head coach they had not planned for prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, the Lakers were in pretty good shape to handle the additional costs on its books.

Last year the Lakers struck a $3-billion, 20-year rights deal with media conglomerate Time Warner.

The deal increased the value of the team 40% to make it the most valuable team in the National Basketball Association at $900 million according to Forbes.

The foundation of the Lakers is being the premiere franchise of the NBA, similar to Yankees in Major League Baseball; a foundation predicated on competing for championships year in and year out.

The Lakers are not afraid of spending money to do it.

It has been speculated the incompatibility of the Triangle offense with new stars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard may have been the cause, while D’Antoni’s "7 seconds or less" Transition offense potentially being more compatible and easier to pick up.

Certainly on the court Xs and Os may have been the issue, but money was not.

Exavier B. Pope, Esq. is an entertainment and sports attorney, media personality, syndicated writer, Fortune 500 speaker and peak performance strategist, author, philanthropist, and sports business and law blogger for ChicagoNow. All opinions expressed are those solely of Mr. Pope.

(c) 2012, Exavier Pope

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