Mike D'Antoni hired: Lakers release statement

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Lakers announced that they have signed Mike D'Antoni to four-year deal.

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Mike D'Antoni to a multi-year contract, according to team spokesman John Black.

A league source has said that D'Antoni has a three-year deal worth $12 million and a fourth year that is a team option. The Lakers plan to hold a press conference on Tuesday or Wednesday to introduce D'Antoni as their new head coach.

D'Antoni coached Lakers point guard Steve Nash for five years in Phoenix, and developed a rapport with Kobe Bryant as an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic team. The 61-year-old head coach had knee-replacement surgery in November and is not cleared to travel yet, but should be ready and able to coach in a couple of days. Bernie Bickerstaff could stay on as the team's interim head coach even after D'Antoni's press conference if D'Antoni is physically unable to coach.

The hiring comes on the heels of rumors about the imminent return of former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson to Los Angeles. Jackson was reportedly "stunned" when informed that the team had chosen D'Antoni.

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