Phil Jackson thought the Los Angeles Lakers job was his to turn down. But general manager Mitch Kupchak and team executive Jim Buss didnt have time to wait for Jackson to decide.
The Lakers waited 30 hours to hear back from Jackson, when they didn't hear from him, they decided to make a move and hire Mike D'Antoni on Sunday night.
"There was no agreement to wait for [Jackson's] response on Monday," Kupchak said via LATimes.com. "He told us that's when he would get back to us. I could see where he might interpret that as 'You guys would wait for me.' But I thought when I said I had to go on and interview other candidates that it was clear I had a job to do."
Kupchak said the Lakers hired D'Antoni over Jackson for his style of offense. He says he wasn't convinced Jackson's triangle offense would work with the current roster.
"He plays the way we see our team playing and our personnel executing. I know the triangle, obviously I wasn't convinced," said Kupchak.
The hardest part for the Lakers hiring D'Antoni, was telling Jackson he didn't get the job.
From the Los Angeles Times:
"In those kind of situations, there's not a lot of small talk," Kupchak said. "He was very complimentary of Mike under the circumstances. I just told him . . . that we just felt the present makeup of the team and the kind of basketball we wanted to play going forward, we just felt that Mike D'Antoni was the choice.
"I didn't look forward to calling somebody at midnight to tell him that he's not going to get a job that he might or might not accept," Kupchak said. "But the only other thing I could do was wait until Monday morning and that would have been worse."
Jackson told The Times on Monday that the midnight phone call seemed "slimy."
"I wish it would have been a little bit cleaner," he said. "It would have been much more circumspect and respectful of everybody that's involved. It seemed slimy to be awoken with this kind of news. It's just weird."