Lakers Will Give Mike D’Antoni a Longer Leash Than They Did Mike Brown

After the farce that was the Los Angeles Lakers coaching search that yielded them Mike D'Antoni as the replacement for Mike Brown, rather than Phil Jackson, we can finally get back down to business and see what D'Antoni can do on the sidelines.

I suppose the only question left is how long D'Antoni has before the Lakers start to light a fire under his belly with talks of a return of the "Zen Master."

Brown coached in just 83 games for the Lakers, including his foray into the postseason with the team last season, so D'Antoni could conceivably surpass that number this season.

The only question is how much the Los Angeles front office is going to let him get away with.

D'Antoni joked about just that before Tuesday night's game against the Brooklyn Nets:

D'Antoni on sitting in Phil's elevated chair tonight: "I hope its my chair now. Maybe I'm keeping it warm."

— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 21, 2012

Lakers coaches not named Phil Jackson haven't had a very good track record ever since Jackson took over in 1999 with four different men taking on the job before D'Antoni, all lasting a combined 170 games. Of course, Frank Hamblen and Bernie Bickerstaff held the job in an interim status, but the relatively low number of games is jarring regardless.

So, are the Lakers going to fall for every single criticism that comes across D'Antoni when they inevitably Google his name six times a day? Or are they going to step back and give him some room to actually work?

Right now it seems as if the only option is the latter. What they have is the best coach possible without the last name Jackson. And regardless of D'Antoni's joke before the game, it would seem that this was the last time Jackson would have come back to the Lakers. After the front office pulled the rug out from underneath him it seems that the Jackson ship has sailed directly into a burnt bridge.


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