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Lakers go for D Antoni as coach
Mike D'Antoni. Picture: Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers have appointed Mike D'Antoni as their new coach in the NBA.

D'Antoni takes over from Mike Brown, who was sacked last Friday, and his hiring brought an abrupt end to speculation that Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson would come out of retirement to coach the Lakers.

Marquee players Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash have supported the appointment, the Lakers said.

Nash played for D'Antoni at Phoenix when the point-guard won the league's Most Valuable Player award in 2005 and 2006, and Bryant worked with D'Antoni this summer when the coach was an assistant on the US Olympic team.

Brown was fired after the Lakers' 1-4 start to the season.

Under interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff they have won two games to be 3-4.

A Lakers statement said owner Jerry Buss, executive vice-president Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak were "unanimous that D'Antoni was the best coach for the team at this time".

The Los Angeles Times reported that Bickerstaff would remain in that role until D'Antoni takes over, possibly within a week or two.

D'Antoni is recovering from knee replacement surgery. He 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.

On Saturday, Jackson appeared to be the top contender for the job, although on Sunday there were reports of various issues between him and the club ranging from his reluctance to travel to all away games and Jackson's desire to have input into personnel decisions.

In two prior stints with the Lakers, Jackson guided the club to five titles.