Los Angeles Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni Fires Bernie Bickerstaff

By Eric N. Ellington
Photo Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Mike D’Antoni is at it again. On his third day on the job he decided to bench two-time NBA champion, Pau Gasol. Now, D’Antoni has decided to fire Bernie Bickerstaff, who I believe is a solid assistant coach.  When Mike Brown was canned after a 1-4 start, Bickerstaff assumed coaching responsibilities and guided the Los Angeles Lakers to a 4-1 record.  He established a defensive presence and a conventional offense which catered to the Lakers’ strengths, their size, as opposed to D’Antoni’s philosophy of spreading the floor and shooting from the perimeter.

Why is Mike D’Antoni allowed to make all of these coaching moves and roster changes?  He does not have the cache or the resume to justify his decisions. Let me remind you of his record as the New York Knicks head coach — 121-167. He even missed the playoffs three out of four seasons — obviously not very impressive. The Lakers barely slipped in to the playoffs (7th seed) this year only to be swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

D’Antoni must be getting behind-the-scenes votes of confidence from new owner, Jim Buss, because I cannot figure out why D’Antoni isn’t on the hot seat. Mitch Kupchak is also agreeing with all of D’Antoni’s coaching adjustments and has basically turned into Jim Buss’s yes-man.

With D’Antoni at the helm, we can expect another dismal season.  Lakers Nation wants Phil Jackson.  Dwight Howard wants Phil.  The late Jerry Buss needed Phil.

D’Antoni’s brash arrogance and dismissive attitude won’t get him too far in Los Angeles.  D’Antoni even disrespected the great Kobe Bryant, calling him a “fan” following the Game 1 loss to San Antonio.

When the Lakers struggle out the gate for the 2013-2014 season, D’Antoni’s “run” as a head coach in L.A., will likely be over.


Eric N. Ellington covers the Los Angeles Lakers for Rant Sports.  Follow him at @EricNEllington

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