When the Lakers parted ways with Mike Brown just over a week ago and replaced him by bringing in Mike D’Antoni, the rest of the coaching staff, to this point, has remained in place.
Bernie Bickerstaff has assumed the head coaching duties for the last four games, though his reign is expected to come to an end Sunday night, with D’Antoni still on track to make his debut as Lakers head coach against the Rockets at Staples Center.
It’s unclear whether Bickerstaff or the rest of the assistant coaches who served under Brown will be retained, but either way, the organization is letting D’Antoni be the one who makes that decision.
Mitch Kupchak addressed the Lakers’ coaching staff situation to ESPNLosAngeles.com on Friday …
Question: Will Bickerstaff be retained on the staff?
Kupchak: “That is going to be Mike’s decision, but Bernie has done a wonderful job. He stepped into an awkward situation and really did a wonderful job.”
Question: Will D’Antoni add anybody to the staff if he does part ways with Bickerstaff or any of the rest of the assistant coaches?
Kupchak: “I’m not sure he’s going to add people. I think he’s going to add his brother (Dan D’Antoni) and then evaluate the present staff and that may take a little bit of time, so that’s kind of where it is right now.”
It’s worth noting that Bickerstaff and Eddie Jordan have been head coaches in this league in the past, and bring with them a wealth of experience. If their philosophies can mesh with what D’Antoni wants to do, they should be able to fit in and find a way to contribute, which would help maintain at least a little bit of continuity during the transition.
It also would be tough for D’Antoni to assemble a full compliment of his own guys now that the season is underway, considering that those who are elite at their profession are likely to be currently employed.
We’ll see if D’Antoni ultimately has any changes in store besides adding his brother to the staff. But as Kupchak said, nothing is likely to happen right away, and any decisions in that department will be D’Antoni’s alone to make.