MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 2) The Los Angeles Lakers have hired former Coach of the Year Mike D'Antoni to be the team's new head coach, replacing Mike Brown who was fired after just five games into the season.
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times broke the news on Twitter.
"Mike D'Antoni signed a four-year deal with the Lakers. Phil Jackson was 'asking for the moon,' according to source familiar with the situation," Bresnahan tweeted.
Lakers spokesman John Black confirmed the news on the team's website. The Lakers will announce the deal on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Brown was fired by the Lakers after only five games as the team stumbled out of the gates, winning only once in their first five games despite a loaded line-up that included All-Stars Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash.
Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff was named interim head coach, leading the Lakers to a two-game winning streak over the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings.
Former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson was the popular choice to replace Brown, but an ESPN report said the Lakers "couldn't stomach Jackson’s contract demands to return."
ESPN reported that the 11-time champion coach wanted a salary ranging from $10 million to $15 million annually, as well as "significant say in personnel decisions." Jackson may also miss road games due to health issues.
Jackson led the Lakers to five championships this decade before leaving at the end of the 2011 season, when the team won their second straight title and 16th in franchise history.
After negotiations with Jackson broke down, the deal with D’Antoni was "consummated very quickly," according to ESPN.
D'Antoni will be reunited with former two-time Most Valuable Player Steve Nash, who was the engine of the Suns' vaunted "Seven Seconds or Less" offense during his time at the helm.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant has also gone on record saying he will have no problem with D'Antoni as head coach.
Adande reported, however, that D’Antoni will not be able to assume head coaching duties until later this week as he is still waiting for a medical clearance following a knee surgery.
D’Antoni won Coach of the Year honors in 2005 after leading the Phoenix Suns to a 62-20 record.
He became the head coach of the New York Knicks in the 2008 season. They missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons before finally breaking through in 2011, wherein they were swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics.
D'Antoni resigned from the Knicks in March 2012.