Managing a "Big Three" at the Lakers?  Mike D'Antoni tells his story

Manage a “Super Team” at the Lakers? Mike D’Antoni tells…

The only reason I took this job was because I was on medication because I had just had my knee replaced.”. It is by a joke that Mike D’Antoni responded to JJ Redick on his failed move to the Lakers. At the time, Mike Brown had just taken the door after five matches, and Mike D’Antoni got the job after talks with Phil Jackson failed.

Like Frank Vogel this season, Mike D’Antoni finds himself piloting a “Big Four” made up of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. But like this season, injuries will prevent the former Suns and Rockets coach from following through with his ideas. Even if the Lakers will reach the playoffs, he recognizes that they were not “a threat” that year.

“Friction? I thought I was going to get killed! »

For Mike D’Antoni, the back injury of Steve Nash, unable on certain days to get in and out of his car, has weighed on the project. But it was not just that because the atmosphere was far from ideal.

Friction? I thought I was going to get killed! he laughs. ” I would say there was some friction. I just couldn’t get them on the same page. They didn’t like each other, it was confrontational. And then, we really didn’t have the necessary talent. We wanted to play Steve [Nash], but he wasn’t up to it, and then he wasn’t even there. Kobe was older, he was on the end… Always good, always great, amazing, but he had a very difficult character. He and Dwight didn’t get along… It’s just a combination of a lot of things, a difficult atmosphere. Things just didn’t work out. »

For Mike D’Antoni, losses cause friction, and victories are there to improve the mood. They “heal” to use his term. ” In a winning team, everyone loves everyone he continues. ” You have to deal with defeats, it’s something you have to go through… »

Coaching in Hollywood is necessarily cinema…

And then there’s the place, Los Angeles. In the most successful and famous franchise in the NBA. It’s a very complicated context, even though he had also coached in New York.

“At the Lakers, either you win the title or you’re no good…Obviously, not all teams can win a title, but you have to deal with their past, and that comes into play. It’s Hollywood and it’s there is a lot of drama here…” he recalls, before ironizing that everyone wants to play at the old Staples Center. “It’s a great place, and playing in this room, whatever it’s called, is great. It’s like Madison Square Garden. These are two places where we absolutely want to play, and the matches are pleasant. When I was at the Knicks, all the opponents were raising their level of play. Same with the Lakers today. Everyone shows up with their powers and they come after you. »

As for relations with the press, Mike D’Antoni has a principle: he reads nothing and cuts himself off from everything! “I don’t read anything that could be negative about me because it would put me in a bad mood, and I would make bad decisions. We can’t have fun“.

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