Mitch Kupchak explains timeline of hiring Mike D'Antoni instead of Phil Jackson
“We thought Mike’s style of play was best suited for the talent on our team,” Kupchak said. He said part of that was Steve Nash, but it was also adding an athletic center like Dwight Howard.
Kupchak explained that Mike Brown did not have a Princeton offense last year and he hired Eddie Jordan to help institute it. And then the team makeup changed after Brown made that decision.
Kupchak explained the timeline after Brown got fired on a Friday. On Saturday, Jim Buss put in a call to Phil Jackson and asked if they could visit him on Saturday.
“Going into it, we didn’t think Phil wanted to coach and our first choice was Mike D’Antoni,” Kupchak said. But Kupchak explained they felt an obligation to talk to Jackson and they did. But at the end of the meeting, Jackson nor the Lakers committed, and Kupchak told him that he was moving forward talking to other coaches.
Dan asked Kupchak if it was a courtesy call to Jackson. “No … the groundswell of support on Friday … it was not a courtesy call,” Kupchak said.
Kupchak shared his view on why Jackson said the call on Sunday night that they hired another coach was “slimy.” Kupchak tried to explain the background. “It wasn’t my impression of the meeting,” Kupchak said. “But I can see how he would feel that.”
Kupchak said he had to call at midnight on Sunday night, because he didn’t want Jackson hearing from someone else by Monday morning.
Dan asked Kupchak about the future of Kobe Bryant. Kupchak said that Kobe’s play hasn’t dipped at all. “This has been the most efficient I’ve seen him play in two or three years,” Kupchak said. But Kupchak did explain Kobe wasn’t in any meetings with him. All Kupchak will do is take the temperature of the team and the players from time to time.