Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers gave his take on the Lakers’ coaching change to Chris Russo (SirusXM’s Mad Dog Radio) on Tuesday, criticizing the organization for their handling of Phil Jackson.
“I didn’t like the way it was done,” said Rivers. “I don’t think you embarrass anybody.”
After relieving Mike Brown of his coaching duties, the Lakers had initial talks with Jackson. While the team’s former coach (and 11-time NBA champion) was mulling over the possibilities, the Lakers instead hired Mike D’Antoni for the job.
“Whether you like Phil or not, he’s won a lot of titles and I think he was owed more than that treatment, in my opinion, especially [from] that franchise,” continued Rivers.
Recently General Manager Mitch Kupchak told The Times, “We knew that there would be a ridiculous amount of criticism for making this decision but it was clearly and only a basketball decision.”
The Lakers had concerns about how well the team’s roster would take to Jackson’s triangle offense, especially after how poorly the team fared with Brown’s version of the Princeton offense.
“We just felt our chances were better hiring [D’Antoni] than any other coach that was available,” said Kupchak.
The Lakers play the Celtics twice in February, starting on the 7th in Boston. Jackson and Rivers met twice in the NBA Finals, both taking home a title.
“I thought they could have handled that better,” said Rivers. “At the end of the day, I think they got their man [in D’Antoni].”