LOS ANGELES (NBA) - The Los Angeles Lakers later on Friday will officially announce that famed Italian head coach Ettore Messina is to join Mike Brown's coaching staff.
Messina, who is currently tutoring at former Italy international Carlton Myers' basketball camp in San Patrigano, near Rimini, will serve as a consultant to Brown, the successor of Phil Jackson.
Myers has no doubt that the coach who accomplished just about everything he could in Europe will also succeed across the Atlantic.
"Good coaches can be successful everywhere and Messina is Europe's number 1 along with Zelimir Obradovic," he said.
After spending the past 22 seasons as a head coach - winning four Euroleague titles with Virtus Bologna and CSKA Moscow along the way - Messina will take on a new challenge and a new role.
“It will be an interesting time for me," he said of his two-year deal with the Lakers, which carries a Euroleague opt-out after the first season.
“I want to take care of the technical part of the game, just like when I coached youth teams after some years when my role was recruiting players on the market."
Because of the current NBA lockout, the 51-year-old does not yet know when he can get to work with Kobe Bryant & Co in LA.
“If the lockout is long, it will cause us some problems," he argued.
"Teams like Dallas and San Antonio have experienced reliable systems, while our team will need to change its identity after a decade with the triple-post offense. And it would be tough to start the season after only a week of training camp."
The former Italy national team boss - who led the Azzuri to EuroBasket glory in 1999 - is curious to see how he can be most useful to his new employers.
“I'll see how the Lakers - one of the most important franchises - work and I'll find out how I could help them in building a new technical identity. Brown's call was rewarding," he said.
“It was good to see how coaches like Brown, San Antonio's Gregg Popovich, Dallas' Rick Carlisle, who just won the title, and Toronto's Dwane Casey are interested in European basketball and its philosophy."
Messina will enhance the Italian identity that already exits in the NBA with Toronto Raptors' vice president Maurizio Gherardini and three players – Andrea Bargnani (Toronto), Marco Belinelli (New Orleans Hornets) and Danilo Gallinari (Denver Nuggets) – who will play together on the national team for the first time at the EuroBasket in Lithuania.
The former Real Madrid coach believes the addition of Gallinari is a reason to be optimistic.
“Gallinari could be a major addition for our national team,” he said. “Gallo's skills are unique, and could be useful to support Bargnani and Belinelli."
And he hopes that Simone Pianigiani's men can finish in the top six in Lithuania to figure into the reckoning for the 2012 London Olympics.
“The next EuroBasket's level of competition will be very high, but several teams will start with big pressure," he explained.
"Italy will start without big expectations. A qualification for the Pre-Olympic tournament would be a fantastic result for such a young team."