Mike D’Antoni led the Lakers through his first practice as the team’s new head coach on Thursday, and did so on crutches after undergoing knee surgery earlier this month.
There were plenty of interesting tidbits that came out of his first press conference with the media — and in fact, we have a complete breakdown of that here. But one of the more pressing questions was whether or not D’Antoni would make his Lakers debut on Friday against the Phoenix Suns, his former team where he achieved so much success while coaching Steve Nash during his two MVP Seasons.
Thankfully for Suns fans, the answer appears to be no. D’Antoni is expected to coach his first game for the Lakers on Sunday at Staples Center when the team faces James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
Bernie Bickerstaff would coach the team for the fourth time in the interim phase, and has a 2-1 record with wins over the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings. The one loss came in heartbreaking fashion at the hands of Danny Green and the San Antonio Spurs.
Steve Nash will also miss the first meeting against his former team, due to the non-displaced leg fracture that has kept him out of action for the past two weeks. Nash is listed as day-to-day, with no timetable set for his return. But there is a chance he could be back Sunday in time for D’Antoni’s first game in Los Angeles.