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NBA: High drama as Lakers hand coaching reins to Mike D’Antoni

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It remains unclear when that process will start. After having knee replacement surgery in November, D’Antoni needs a doctor’s clearance before flying to Los Angeles. A source close to D’Antoni said late Sunday night that process could take at least a day. That means interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff will coach his third consecutive game when the Lakers host the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night at Staples Center.

An introductory news conference could happen as early as Wednesday, though it’s unlikely.

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The Lakers players added little to the drama.

Bryant and Nash both endorsed D’Antoni before the hire. Bryant played for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic teams on which D’Antoni was an assistant coach. Meanwhile, Nash won two league MVPs playing under D’Antoni in Phoenix. Even though the hire caught them by surprise, the other Lakers sounded thrilled with D’Antoni too.

"We’re excited for D’Antoni and an up-paced offense," said Howard, who will be a free agent next season. "Everything he’s done with the teams he’s had as far as how they pushed the ball and how they play in an open court, I think it will be good for (Nash) and for all of us to put some points on the board."

How that plays out remains to be seen. After all, no one could have predicted how the Lakers’ soap opera would have played out only days ago.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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