- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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LOS ANGELES -- In the first move of what's sure to be a busy offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers, coach Mike D'Antoni informed Bernie Bickerstaff and Chuck Person on Monday that they will not be retained as assistant coaches for next season, according to multiple sources.
Bickerstaff was hired last summer by former head coach Mike Brown to be his coaching consultant. When Brown was fired in November, Bickerstaff was promoted to interim head coach in his stead. Bickerstaff, 69, guided the team to a 4-1 record before D'Antoni took over. Bickerstaff, the 1986-87 NBA Coach of the Year with Seattle, has worked in the NBA for close to 40 years for eight different franchises.
Brown was hired by the Cleveland Cavaliers last month, reuniting him with the franchise. Bickerstaff could be reunited with Brown in Cleveland, as the rest of the Cavs coaching staff has yet to be filled. Bickerstaff could also end up back with Nate McMillan, should McMillan be hired this summer. Bickerstaff worked under McMillan in Portland before joining the Lakers.
Person was the last link to Phil Jackson's coaching staff, hired by the Lakers prior to the 2009-10 season. Jackson recently agreed to help the Detroit Pistons with the hiring process to fill their head coaching vacancy, meaning the defensive-minded Person, who has coached defense under the likes of Jackson, Brown and Rick Carlisle, could become a candidate.
"Brown is a guy who loved big staffs, Mike D'Antoni is not," said a source with knowledge of the situation as the reasoning behind the dismissals.
The Lakers' remaining assistant coaching staff consists of D'Antoni's older brother, Dan D'Antoni, who will be brought back next season, as well as Steve Clifford, Darvin Ham and player development coach Phil Handy who are still being evaluated.
Clifford is expected to interview with the Charlotte Bobcats for their head coaching job this week, after Charlotte requested permission from the Lakers to speak to him last week.
Another candidate for the Bobcats' opening, Alvin Gentry, would be a logical fit to join D'Antoni's staff for next season if he does not get another head coaching job. Gentry was an assistant under D'Antoni with the Phoenix Suns and eventually became head coach in Phoenix after D'Antoni left before being let go in January after a 13-28 start to the season for the Suns.
D'Antoni lost another member from Brown's staff last month when Eddie Jordan was hired by Rutgers University, his alma mater, to be the Scarlet Knights' head coach. Jordan hired Kyle Triggs, another basketball operations assistant hired by Brown and retained by D'Antoni, to join his staff at Rutgers.