Lakers' D'Antoni 'excited' about new gig
El Segundo, CA (Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers held a press conference on Thursday to introduce Mike D'Antoni as their new head coach.
"I'm really happy to be here, excited," D'Antoni remarked. "We're built to win this year, this is not a project. We have a window and we're going to try to get through it."
The Lakers have won two of their last three games since a 1-4 start forced Mike Brown out of town after just five games.
Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff has guided the Lakers since Brown's firing and will likely man the sideline for Friday's home game against D'Antoni's former team, the Phoenix Suns.
D'Antoni is recovering from knee replacement surgery, but stated he should be ready to coach starting this weekend.
"I don't think Friday," D'Antoni said. "I don't need a crutch, just a little stiff. By this weekend I should be fine."
The 61-year-old also addressed the speculation surrounding Phil Jackson becoming the Lakers' new head coach.
"I was shocked before, now that's wearing off," D'Antoni admitted. "Phil's a great, great coach. The reality is I'm extremely fortunate that we went this direction and I can't wait to get started."
Jackson was considered the clear front-runner for the job, but according to various reports, he had a list of demands that ranged from not traveling with the club on certain road trips to skipping shoot-arounds.
"I'm going to do everything in my power to make it a good decision," D'Antoni said. "The reality of the day is I have a great group of guys."
D'Antoni has previously been the head coach for Denver, Phoenix and most recently the New York Knicks. He resigned as Knicks head coach last March with the team just 18-24, and was 121-167 in nearly four full seasons with New York.
D'Antoni has compiled a record of 388-339 in 10 seasons as a head coach.
11/15 20:06:05 ET