New Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni ready, willing and almost able
Nov 21, 2012 (Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
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Mike D'Antoni sat at a table during a news conference sporting a wide smile, a symbolic image suggesting his readiness to make his Lakers coaching debut when they hosted Brooklyn on Wednesday night at Staples Center.
"Ready to go," said D'Antoni, who's going through physical therapy after recent knee replacement surgery.
D'Antoni sat on an elevated seat that looks familiar to the one Phil Jackson once sat on, but it's a different one. D'Antoni didn't bring his crutches with him, saying, "I was looking today for a parrot and an eye patch." And even if he joked that he refused to see trainer Gary Vitti for clearance, D'Antoni remained confident he could make it through the game.
That's not to say he didn't have limitations.
D'Antoni said he will need to take precautions during the Lakers' three-game trip at Sacramento (tonight), Memphis (Friday) and Dallas (Saturday).
"I'll wear some stockings take some blood thinners and try to eat healthy and go for it." said D'Antoni, sporting a new hair cut. "I'm good. This is great."
Beyond measuring his health, D'Antoni will also measure the Lakers' progress.
"We have 72 mores games we can be patient," he said. "The only thing we can't do right now is win 77. We have plenty of time.
There will be no panic. I don't know how good we can become. But our goal is to be the best team in the league."
And that thought alone kept D'Antoni energetic enough, even if he's fighting the pain from his recent surgery.
"It doesn't get any better than this," he said. "It's a special place. I'll do my best to take care of it as best as I can. Anyone who plays here or coaches here is privileged."
Time Warner Cable, which carries Lakers games on its SportsNet and Deportes channels, eventually secured a deal with nearly every cable provider.
Except for one.
Dish Network has yet to strike a deal with TWC, prompting them to release a statement encouraging customers to switch cable providers that carry the channel, including Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Cox, Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse, Bright House Networks and Charter.
Morris sees more time
Little good news has emerged surrounding the Lakers' point guards. Although they will both travel with the team, the Lakers have penciled out Steve Nash (fractured left leg) and Steve Blake (strained abdominal muscle) for the team's three-game trip.
But there's a silver lining.
Darius Morris entered Tuesday's game against Brooklyn averaging six points and four assists in 27 minutes as a starter in the past three games.
"I'm learning so much, but more importantly, I'm trying to show people what I can bring to the table," Morris said. "I thank my teammates for giving me that confidence. Most importantly, I thank the coaching staff as well telling me to go out there and play. I'm really just trying to simplify it for me."
Morris also thanked his agent, Brian Dyke, for convincing him to make a risky decision after after the Lakers selected him 41st overall in the 2011 draft. Second-round picks usually receive non-guaranteed contracts for two years, but Morris signed for only one year. The Lakers signed him to a one-year deal worth $950,000, nearly doubling what he earned his rookie season. Second-year guard Andrew Goudelock, who was selected 46th overall in the 2011 draft, was cut during training camp because his second year worth $760,000 wasn't guaranteed.
"People said it was kind of risky, but it's a chance you have to take," Morris said. "It's worked out so far. You have to have the confidence your hard work will pay off."
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