Stephen A. Smith was on Max & Marcellus today and he dropped some rather interesting information. Apparently, Dwight Howard wants Phil Jackson to be the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, and if Dwight leaves L.A., it’s primarily going to be because of Mike D’Antoni:
[pullquote]I know that [Dwight] wants Phil Jackson as his coach instead of Mike D’Antoni. I know for a fact. You have people within the Buss family who believe Phil should be back as well, but the one hold out happens to be the guy running basketball operations, which is Jim Buss, but people have doubts about his ability to run the franchise based on some of the decisions he has made.
This is what I’m willing to say definitively: if Dwight Howard does not re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, it is primarily because Mike D’Antoni is the coach.[/pullquote]
Stephen A. also spoke about the possibility of Jeanie Buss taking over the Lakers’ basketball operations, which are currently run by her brother Jim Buss, which would likely result in Phil returning as coach.
Now, it’s worth noting that Stephen A. said earlier in the year that he’d heard of a conversation between Rudy Gay and Dwight where the pair spoke about playing in Brooklyn next season. The problem is, Smith said this discussion happened while Gay was with the Raptors and the Lakers didn’t face Toronto after they pulled off the trade for Gay. Smith later said he just messed up the team names, meaning the discussion really took place when Gay was with the Grizzlies.
I’m not questioning Stephen A.’s sources, I’m just putting the Dwight and Rudy story out there. It’s a big thing to claim that if Howard leaves L.A., it’s because of Mike D’Antoni. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case seeing as Dwight and other members of the Lakers questioned D’Antoni’s system and coaching style throughout the season.
This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard of Dwight’s apparent interest in Phil, though. Earlier in the year, Sam Smith reported that Dwight’s camp wanted Phil to be hired after Mike Brown was let go by the Lakers – obviously, that never happened.