Bernie Bickerstaff, Chuck Person won’t return to Lakers coaching staff

Only a week removed from their early exit from the NBA playoffs, and the Lakers have already made changes.

Coach Mike D’Antoni told assistant coaches Bernie Bickerstaff and Chuck Person they would not return to the Lakers’ coaching staff next season, according to Lakers spokesman John Black.

D’Antoni had kept all of Mike Brown’s assistants after he was fired following a 1-4 start while hiring his brother, Dan, to help oversee his offense after spending time on his staff in Phoenix and New York. But it was expected D’Antoni would at least somewhat alter his staff after the season ended.

Bickerstaff went 4-1 as an interim coach following Brown’s firing, and has been considered one of Brown’s most influential mentors. Person remained the last connection to Phil Jackson’s staff. Brown kept Person when he was hired in May 2011, and was also kept upon D’Antoni’s arrival. Person’s main responsibility under Jackson and Brown mostly involved the team’s defense. Under D’Antoni, Person mostly worked on players’ shooting mechanics and specifically worked with Dwight Howard on post moves and free-throw shooting.

It’s possible some other changes will take place soon. Eddie Jordan left to take the Rutgers head-coaching position shortly before the Lakers’ first-round series started two weeks ago against San Antonio. Steve Clifford plans to interview with the Charlotte Bobcats’ vacant head-coaching position, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Yet, Dan D’Antoni, Clifford, Darvin Ham and Phil Handy are still on the Lakers’ staff.

Mike D’Antoni plans to finalize his coaching staff……One possible candidate could include former Clippers and Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry, who’s been a longtime acquaintance of D’Antoni. But it’s possible Gentry could receive head-coaching offers from other teams.


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