Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 11/13/12
Kobe Bryant didn't envision Mike D'Antoni becoming the Lakers' next coach. It surely would be Phil Jackson, no? "I think we were all kind of thinking it was going to be Phil," Bryant said Tuesday. "It probably caught Mike D'Antoni off guard a little bit too. But I'm excited." Jackson coached Bryant for 11 seasons on the Lakers, the two of them winning five championships together. "Phil and I have gone back since I was 20 years old and everything he's taught me and so forth," said Bryant, normally not the nostalgic type. "There's a little bit of that. At the same time, I'm very excited about Coach D. I know Phil will be enjoying his retirement and looking to get back in the game, although probably not in a coaching standpoint, probably a managerial role at some point." Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak and team executive Jim Buss asked Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard who they thought would be the best candidates for the position. "To be honest, I said D'Antoni was my first choice because I didn't even know Phil was going to be an option," Bryant said. "And then Jimmy's the one that brought up Phil's name. I didn't even know that was a consideration. They said, 'Well it is, and I want to know how you feel about it.' I said 'I love it' and that was it. They knew my two guys that I liked. If one didn't work out obviously with Phil, they knew that they had my approval to pull the trigger on the other one." Bryant said he "very much" appreciated Kupchak and Buss going to him to seek his opinion. "Our relationship has been much more open and much more fluid," he said. Bryant spoke briefly to D'Antoni on Tuesday morning. The Lakers' coach will meet with players Wednesday and then reporters Thursday at his official news conference. D'Antoni is recovering from knee-replacement surgery and probably won't coach until Sunday's game against Houston. D'Antoni has coached the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks. He was also an assistant on the last two U.S. Olympic teams. "He's an offensive genius," Bryant said. "We have a great relationship. The offense that he installed for our U.S. team is the offense that we've run to the tune of two gold medals. We all know the type of talent that we have on that team so it was important for us to have an offense that was flexible, that was open, that kept everybody involved. It worked pretty well for us." But the Lakers don't have the same shooters and speed that D'Antoni had when his Phoenix teams were consistently breaking 100 points. "It's going to be fine," Bryant said. "It's not like he takes the same thing that he did in Phoenix and incorporates that here. He has different personnel. He can use Steve to his greatest advantages, and me to mine, and Dwight to his and Pau Gasol to his, and so forth and so on." What about D'Antoni's reputation as a poor defensive coach? "That's just because he hasn't won any championships," Bryant said. "To be honest, we might have done in all the years I've been with Phil maybe three defensive drills. I'm not understating it at all. But his philosophy was you guys need to figure it out on your own, and that's what made him a phenomenal coach. He was able to sit back and trust the process. As a result, we've had some great defensive teams." Bryant then added, "With all the chatter that's going on, particularly about how he's not a good defensive coach, I think we'll rally around that and come out with a point to prove. The last two games, we honestly have had no defensive system whatsoever. We've been reading and reacting to each other and studying personnel. We did pretty good. Tonight is going to be a different animal but we're looking forward to it." The Lakers (3-4) play San Antonio (6-1) on Tuesday at Staples Center. In their last two games, the Lakers beat Golden State, 101-77, and Sacramento, 103-90. Whereas Jackson was reflective and calm on the sidelines, D'Antoni was often more vocal. "I know how competitive he is," Bryant said. "He's a feisty, feisty dude, man. Temperamental, even. I like that." -Mike Bresnahan
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Jimmy Butler recruiting Kyle Lowry to the Timberwolves

WATCH: Tim Tebow didn't waste any time homering after promotion

Nolan Arenado throws out runner from seated position

NFL fans in Florida seem to like Tom Brady more than any of their three teams’ players

Austin Rivers responds to ‘false’ report about Chris Paul issues

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mayweather-McGregor fight is reportedly seeking a $10 million title sponsor

Kevin Durant laughs off Rockets’ acquisition of Chris Paul

Terry Francona wearing heart monitor in case of another 'episode'

Albert Almora denies flipping off President Donald Trump during White House visit

Nationals minor league team will give out ‘Ode to Tommy John’ figurines

Blazers post hilarious tweets after acquiring cash from Rockets

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

Top NBA free agents available

Box Score 6/28: New York loses its zen

Although you have seen this start before, this season is no sequel for the Dodgers

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

Who won Wimbledon the year you were born?

Box Score 6/27: Monday is for all sorts of ballers

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'You get a steal! You get a steal! Everybody gets a steal!' quiz

Rewriting the Hall of Fame rubric for today's pitchers

2017 is not another disappointing sequel for the Dodgers

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Ricky Davis takes unnecessary shots at Al Harrington

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Feeding your roundball addiction through the summer months

The 'Power hitters are coming for that number one spot' quiz

Big3 brings summer festival feel to basketball with barnstorming tour

The 'Tonight, we settle the Beard vs. Brodie debate' quiz

2016-17 NBA Awards: The 8th Man Award for most overlooked player this year

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker