Gary Payton Believes Lakers May Have Made A Mistake By Not Hiring Phil Jackson Again

November 13, 2012 – 7:45 am by Steven Cuce

It’s been a turbulent few days in Los Angeles. The Lakers fired Mike Brown after coaching only five games this season and his team sporting a 1-4 start out of the gate. Dwight Howard wasn’t 100 percent yet this season and Steve Nash went down with an injury, but none of that mattered to Lakers vice president Jim Buss or general manager Mitch Kupchak.

Phil Jackson looked to be the only candidate for the job and Lakers fans were hoping for one more Hollywood reunion. The only problem was this time Jackson overplayed his hand, overreached and misread the circumstances. Jackson didn’t want to coach the team on the road and wanted the ability to veto player personnel moves that he didn’t see fit. Well, now Jackson won’t be seeking his 12th coaching championship. The job was given to Mike D’Antoni and the move by Buss has drawn a ton of criticism. Here’s some of it coming from Gary Payton.

Gary Payton joined 95.7 The Game in San Francisco with The Rise Guys to discuss Mike D’Antoni being hired to be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, L.A. firing Mike Brown after coaching in five games in his second season and D’Antoni’s close relationship with Kobe Bryant.

What did you think of Mike D’Antoni being the next coach of the Lakers? Is that a good decision?:

“I don’t know. I don’t know how he is going to come in there. Mike D’Antoni is really a coach where he wants to run and gun and I don’t know what he is going to do with that type of crew that he has. Are they going to play defense? That was their biggest story anyway. We don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I think he’s got a relationship with Kobe Bryant anyway, because Kobe was over there in Italy with his father, so we don’t know. We know Kobe Bryant says he was young, but he’s got Steve Nash, who he’s already coached. That’s going to be a big plus if they are going to put him and Dwight Howard or him and Pau Gasol in the pick-and-roll and put that in there, so I don’t know. I like the situation with Phil Jackson coming back. Phil would have had a lot more direction for them. He would have put more on defense. He would have felt more comfortable with them, I think. I think the triangle [offense] would have been more suitable for them because that is what everyone has seen from the Lakers, and it would have put a little buzz behind the Lakers a little bit more.”

How do you fire Mike Brown after five games?:

“It was just not looking right for them. Kobe Bryant was walking off the court looking at Mike Brown crazy. People wasn’t playing hard enough. It had to happen and with the Lakers, especially. They just signed a deal with Time Warner for $3 billion dollars. Nobody is watching the games. It was a big thing that they were losing and fans were getting a little antsy and they had to do something. I think the Buss family said, ‘OK, we made this decision and we’ve gotta correct this decision really quickly.’”

So if you’re Mike D’Antoni, the minute Kobe Bryant gives you a look, then, you are gone?:

“I don’t think that’s going to happen with Mike D’Antoni. He’s a little bit more seasoned than Mike Brown. I think he’s got a little more respect than Mike Brown. That’s not going to happen, I don’t think. Plus, like I said, he’s raised Kobe since he was a little kid, so they are going to have something. You forgot he’s been under Mike D’Antoni for the last eight years and two Olympics. He’s been his assistant coach, too, so I think there’s going to be a little bit more respect there with this coach because they are going to talk more. I think they are going to be on same page a little bit more. He’s going to be wanting more. You forget when Mike Brown was hired, it was without Kobe knowing and approving of that move, so it’s going to be just a little different.”

Listen to Gary Payton on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco here

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