Lakers officially hire Mike D`Antoni as new head coach

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Mike D’Antoni to a multi-year contract as head coach, it was announced today by Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak.  Per multiple reports, it is a three-year deal for $12 million, and the Lakers have a team option for a fourth year.

“After speaking with several excellent and well-respected coaching candidates, Dr. Buss, Jim and I all agreed that Mike was the right person at this time to lead the Lakers forward,” said Kupchak.  “Knowing his style of play and given the current make-up of our roster, we feel Mike is a great fit, are excited to have him as our next head coach and hope he will help our team reach its full potential.”

D’Antoni, who becomes the 24th head coach in franchise history and 20th in the Los Angeles era, owns a 388-339 (.534) overall NBA head coaching record in 10 seasons with Denver, Phoenix and New York.

Prior to joining the Lakers, D’Antoni most recently served as an assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski on the gold medal-winning US Men’s National Basketball Team during the 2012 London Olympics.  In what was his second stint with the Men’s Senior National Team, D’Antoni was also an assistant coach for Team USA’s gold medal run at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Hired to become the 24th head coach in Knicks franchise history on May 13, 2008, D’Antoni guided the 2010-11 team to their first winning season since 2000-01 and concluded his four-year tenure in New York with a 121-167 (.420) overall record.  In each of his three full seasons on the Knicks bench, his teams finished in the Top 10 league-wide in scoring (4th in 2009, 9th in 2010 and 2nd in 2011).

Prior to joining the Knicks, D’Antoni spent five seasons with the Phoenix Suns (2003-08), compiling a 253-136 (.650) overall record.  In his four full seasons as head coach in Phoenix (2004-08), D’Antoni was named 2004-05 NBA Coach of the Year after leading the Suns to a franchise record 62-20 (.756) mark, posted four straight 50-plus win seasons (two 60-plus win seasons), won three Pacific Division titles and a recorded a 232-96 (.707) record over that span.

D’Antoni, who also spent four years in the NBA as a player and another 13 playing in Italy, made his NBA head coaching debut with the Denver Nuggets during the lockout shortened 1998-99 season.  After posting a 14-36 (.280) record in one season with Denver, he moved on to Portland, where he served one season as an assistant coach (2000-01).  Returning to coach one final season in Italy (2001-02), where he had previously coached for seven years from 1990-97, D’Antoni came back to the NBA as an assistant coach with the Suns in 2002 and served in that capacity until assuming head coaching duties 21 games into the 2003-04 season.