Lakernation – Banner or Bust: After the fire and hire coaching debacle in the end no one wins

Unable to stomach the putrid performance of a $100 million dollar roster led by Coach Mike Brown any longer the Laker front office finally decided to cut the cord. Despite his tireless efforts it took the Laker front office last season and five games to acknowledge the widely held truth that Coach Mike Brown just was not a good fit for the Laker franchise.

Once news broke of the imminent firing rumors were rampant that the head coaching vacancy was gift wrapped on a silver platter with a red bow for 10-time championship winning Coach Phil Jackson to take. Despite the overtures from both Phil Jackson and the Laker front office the expected match made in heaven failed to come to fruition, the third time was not a charm. Rumors allege that Phil Jackson wanted more say in basketball operations and wished to negotiate the number of road games he would have to travel too.  According to a statement released by Jackson these demands were not accurate and he was told that he had until Monday per a gentlemen’s agreement to make his decision.

Despite this alleged agreement to the surprise of Jackson, Lakernation, and many others the front office officially announced that Mike Dantoni was going to be the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. After this announcement speculation was rampant that the demands of Phil were unreasonable and that the Lakers current roster was not a good fit for his famed triangle offense.

Regardless of which side one may sit on this issue the bottom line is that everyone loses. Jerry Buss, the Lakers general manager and president of operations has ruined a once pristine reputation after his poor handling of the coaching debacle. His initial hiring of Mike Brown initially raised eye brows but many gave him the benefit of the doubt but his failure to seal the deal with Phil Jackson revealed the division that in not on the Laker front office but also within the Buss family.

The new head man in Laker-ville has walked into a no win situation that many pundits and fans have yet to realize. Although Dantoni’s break neck offense led to three Western Conference Finals appearances and two MVPs for Steve Nash the thoroughbreds he had on that Suns roster are not present on the Laker bench.

In an effort to refresh the memories of many let me remind everyone that those Sun teams ran a pick and roll offense where Nash dominated the ball and dished the ball to his three-point shooters when the defense collapsed on him when he attacked the paint. However, Nash is now only shades of his former self after suffering several injuries to his back, ankle, and now his shin which have robbed him of both his explosiveness and speed needed to attack the basket.

Too make matters worst, the age of the Lakers makes the prospects of them running Dantoni’s break neck speed offense appear far from a desirable alternative for an entire 82-game season. Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant are already dealing with injuries and Dantoni’s has yet to install his offense which will certainly test the will and frail bodies of these two often injured superstars.

Although Kobe appears to be on board cameras will certainly be on alert trying to capture any moment of discontent once Dantoni’s offense reduces him to a spot up shooter and a secondary option forced to watch the pick and roll offense run through Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Lastly, do not think that Dwight Howard has not already began to plan his exit strategy in case his stay in Staple Center is only temporary. The wear and tear of running Dantoni’s offense tears your body to shreds, don’t believe me ask Amare Stoudamire of the New York Knicks who has never been the same after playing for the Suns for four years.

Dantoni has said that if the Lakers are not in the finals then he has failed ‘banner or bust’. This promises to continue to be a compelling story all season long. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark


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