History might have been different if Phil Jackson had said he was ready to coach the Lakers while meeting informally with two team executives Saturday morning.
He might be the Lakers' coach right now, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Tuesday.
"We would have gone back immediately and gone back and holed up with Dr. Buss and decided what we were going to do that day," said Kupchak, referring to owner Jerry Buss.
Instead, Jackson asked Kupchak and team executive Jim Buss for two more days to think about a return after an 18-month layoff. The Lakers waited about 30 hours, didn't hear from him and decided to hire Mike D'Antoni on Sunday night.
"There was no agreement to wait for (Jackson's) response on Monday," Kupchak said. "He told us that's when he would get back to us. I could see where he might interpret that as 'You guys would wait for me.' But I thought when I said I had to go on and interview other candidates that it was clear I had a job to do."
The Lakers interviewed D'Antoni by phone Saturday afternoon not long after meeting with Jackson at his Playa del Rey home. D'Antoni could not fly to Los Angeles last weekend because of recent knee-replacement surgery.
The Lakers hired D'Antoni mainly because of his high-flying offense. "He plays the way we see our team playing and our personnel executing," Kupchak said.
D'Antoni's fax machine was not working properly and could not transmit his signed contract
Finally, by 11:30 p.m. Sunday, the Lakers officially had a new coach.
"I didn't look forward to calling somebody at midnight to tell him that he's not going to get a job that he might or might not accept," said Kupchak, adding that calling Jackson on Monday morning would have been worse.
Jackson said the midnight phone call seemed "slimy."
"I wish it would have been a little bit cleaner," he said. "It would have been much more circumspect and respectful of everybody that's involved. It seemed slimy to be awoken with this kind of news. It's just weird."
Kupchak himself wasn't sold on meshing Jackson's share-the-ball triangle offense with the Lakers' present-day roster. "I know the triangle," he said. "Obviously I wasn't convinced."
Knicks 99, Magic 89: Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points, and J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton each added 21 as New York beat host Orlando. The Knicks remain the league's only unbeaten team. New York's 5-0 start is its first since it started the 1993-94 season 7-0 and reached the NBA finals.
Nets 114, Cavaliers 101: Deron Williams had 26 points and 10 assists, Joe Johnson scored 25 points, and host Brooklyn beat Cleveland. Anderson Varejao scored a career-high 35 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Cavaliers.
Raptors 74, Pacers 72: Jose Calderon had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead Toronto over host Indiana. Toronto's Kyle Lowry (sprained right ankle) and Landry Fields (right hand/wrist injury) traveled to New York instead of Indianapolis to see a specialist for another opinion on their injuries.
Rockets: First-round draft pick Royce White is not with the team and says the team has been "inconsistent" in its agreement to help him cope with his anxiety disorder. White suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder.
Bobcats-Hornets trade: Charlotte acquired forward Hakim Warrick from New Orleans for guard Matt Carroll.
Etc.: Former All-Star point guard Gilbert Arenas has signed a contract to play for Yao Ming's Shanghai Sharks team, the Beijing News reported, without citing anyone.
The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this report.