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Lakers GM Kupchak makes it clear: D’Antoni will be back next season

Apr 18, 2013, 9:31 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni chats to Pau Gasol of Spain and Dwight Howard during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles Reuters

Bad news for those Lakers fans who have chosen to scapegoat coach Mike D’Antoni for the Lakers disappointing season:

He’s going to be back next season.

That’s not my opinion, that comes straight from Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, speaking to the Los Angeles Times.

“Yeah, he’s back. I think he’s done a great job,” Kupchak told The Times. “There’s been no discussions otherwise.

“He’s made adjustments. He’s been flexible. He’s evaluated how he coaches as the season’s progressed. He’s listened to the players. He’s very easy to work with and we think in particular since the meeting the day of the Memphis game, yeah.”

D’Antoni didn’t get a fair shot this season. Not only did he not get a training camp but also the offensive principles he would want to instill are a radical departure from the measured hybrid-Princeton offense Mike Brown had spent all of training camp putting in place. Then there were the much-discussed injuries — Steve Nash has been out a lot, killing any chance D’Antoni had of implementing his base system, plus there was Pau Gasol and finally Kobe Bryant. Of course, Dwight Howard played but he wasn’t right until near the end of the season.

Some Lakers fans kill D’Antoni because he wasn’t a natural fit for this roster makeup, and because he’s not Phil Jackson. Those complaints really should be directed at management — they hired him knowing full well about the fit.

To D’Antoni’s credit, he has adapted and modified. The Lakers run more standard NBA sets like “horns” than people seem to think. Since Kobe went down there has been a lot of very standard post-entry passing from the wing to Howard. D’Antoni has adjusted.

Bring him back and the Lakers will find a solid offensive identity. And then we can get back to the real questions about these Lakers and this coach — can they defend well enough to be contenders? Can Mike D’Antoni coach them well enough on that end of the floor to be a good defensive team?

He’s going to get a shot at that next season. He’s not going anywhere.

  1. thesportsguy52 - Apr 18, 2013 at 9:45 AM


    • spthegr8 - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:36 PM

      Don’t remind me!!!! SMH!!!

    • 4thquartermagic - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:59 PM

      Sorry Jerry Buss’ pride wouldn’t allow him to hire Phil… Guess he took the franchise with him when he left.

      • progress2011 - Apr 18, 2013 at 4:54 PM

        I saw Mike Brown the other day, he was “LAUGHING-OUT-LOUD” when he exited his car, holding another one of those laker checks in his hands….as he entered Chase Manhattan Bank !!!!

        I think I heard him say…..better him than me !!!


  2. bucs24 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Good plan, you will lose in the first round than lose Howard than Kobe wont be back for 9 months so next season is a waste good job laker management!

    • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      Just another bitter Florida sports fan. In case you haven’t heard, Dwight’s gone…

    • mytthor - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:16 PM

      Yeah Laker management, you should have held on to Andrew Bynum. Then you could have had the disappointing center and the guy who won’t play all rolled into one!

      Seriously, I don’t know how you fault management for the superstar getting hurt and for trading a guy who didn’t play for an all-star starter.

  3. aboogy123456 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    D’Antoni deserves a shot at a full season, and he’s proven to me that he really understands the x’s and o’s of basketball I really like the team basketball they are playing right now, and if Kobe can come back healthy some time next year, the lakers could be playing for the ship.

  4. miamatt - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Good, the crapulence can continue.

    Actually, if there is one good thing about D’Antoni from the LA perspective, he might make it more likely D12 returns. Howard has made it clear he isn’t comfortable with coaches or teammates riding his A$$, and I imagine he likes D’Antoni’s style. In the long run, that might be the best thing for the Lakers- hold on to Dwight, blow it all up, and bring in some young, athletic shooters around Dwight. Maybe start with a point guard that Nash can mentor, if he is willing.

    I’m still highly skeptical that this can work in LA, but maybe they have a plan that we won’t see come to fruition for a couple of years.

  5. rodge1 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Lakers are playing some great team-ball lately…. Can’t wait for Kobe to come back and disrupt this with 30+ shots per game.

    • truprof - Apr 18, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      I’m with you on this one, the Lakers are playing better ball without the poisonous Mamba. They probably don’t have the bench to win vs. the Spurs, but they’re definitely playing a higher level of basketball.

    • badintent - Apr 18, 2013 at 8:14 PM

      No Kobe,no Nash,now the lakers kick ass. Blake ain’t fake, Howard ‘s starting to shake(like The Dream) and even Coach Mike can ‘t screw it up. Jimy Buss is NBA exective of the Year.What that UFO flying over the Lakers ? Blake Griffen !! Go clippers

  6. drewzducks - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Insert laugh track here.

  7. bucrightoff - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Western Conference PGs rejoice, another season of averaging 30+ a game against the Lakers. There’s a reason he’s called Mike Antoni, the D isn’t silent, it’s non-existent.

    • aboogy123456 - Apr 18, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      I think Western conference point guards have been dominating the lakers for the past decade, in case you haven’t been watching.

    • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

      No comment on the post about the LAKER win last night? Did the refs not rig the game like you had hoped? You are aware half the roster wont be back (ie Jamison, Meeks, Sacre, Ebanks), which means players that can actually defend can be signed…

    • muhangis - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:16 PM

      I thought it was Mike O’Antoni, at best

  8. unxpexted1 - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    I feel like you have to give it to them…..he took turmoil and has helped mold it into a reasonable season. He was not put into the best position. Hired after the season starts, bunch of players not fitting his style, and big ego’s to deal with. Have to give him props for what he’s done so far.

    On a Sidenote: any chance mitch and the boys pull a Jim Irsay and cut Kobe Peyton Manning style? I know the contract thing makes it tough, just wonder at what point you officially move on. I’d hate to see him go but business is business.

    • bucrightoff - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Amnestying Kobe should certainly be considered. $80 million is $80 million no matter who you are. Unlike the Colts though its not like there’s an Andrew Luck waiting in the wings for the Lakers, so the PR hit likely scares them from even considering it.

    • LA_RichSprts - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      I doubt it. The different with the Colts was that they had a kid named Andrew Luck, who fell into their lap. The Lakers have Dwight Howard, who can leave after this season.

  9. LA_RichSprts - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    haha Mitch said Mike Brown’s job was safe earlier this season… then fired him a couple days later. I’ll believe it when I see it.

  10. chargerdillon - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    If D’Antoni stays, as much of a diehard laker fan as I am, I have no interest in watching them play.

    The inmates run the asylum under D’Antoni because he’s and x’s and o’s guy and not a micromanger of talent like he needs to be.

    If your team suddenly plays better when a star gets injured and it happened MANY times this year, it shows that really D’Antoni as a coach has no control in what his team does.

    It’s a very good thing the Heat and Thunder are so exciting to watch, because otherwise Baseball might start look more interesting.

    From one sad Laker fan

    • lakerfan4life - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      I agree with you. I found myself almost hoping the Lakers did not make the playoffs, because I thought that might be the catalyst for the Lakers to jettison NoD’Antoni.

      On the other hand, I am hoping that this is just Mitch’s way of showing support for this coach as the Lakers head into the playoffs. Wouldn’t want them to begin the playoffs knowing that the coach is a short-timer.

      If Mitch and Jimmy are still determined to keep this horrible coach after the Lakers are humiliated by the Spurs in the playoffs, I may just have to change my screen name, because it will no longer be true.

  11. lakerluver - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    @thesecondLAKERSzealot, good points. The only player of that group that I kinda, sorta hope returns is Meeks. The LAKERS only goal year in and year out is winning the title. Therefore, changes in the roster will be made. My only concern is will Buss let Mitch do his job. Btw, I like how you spell LAKERS in all caps. Nice touch!!

    • paulhargis53 - Apr 18, 2013 at 6:55 PM

      Isnt that cute. Lakerluver has his new screen name picked out for when he has to leave this site because he lost our bet…….

      Dummy, your posting is so trsnsparent that eveyone knows this is your new screen name.
      Carrying on like you think we dont get it, makes you loo even more foolish than before.

      Be a man…when they dont get past the 2nd round….honor your bet and leave with what little dignity you have. If you countinue under the zealot moniker, I will make sure that eveyone on this site know what a piece of garbage you are.

      • scottheis82 - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:55 PM

        PH53… you can’t say a thing about Lakerluver, you been running your mouth all season long hating on the LAKERS and now that the regular season is wrapped up LA ends up with a better record than your precious Celtics and we play in the west…I’d like to know what the C’s record would have been with our schedule!!!

      • omniusprime - Apr 19, 2013 at 8:55 AM

        Geez what are you Pauline Haggis 0.53, some kind of stalker? Or are you so in love with lakerluvr you just can’t stay away from him? A shame they let you come back to post your hateful garbage.

        Hey how about your sissy celtics having a worse record than the Lakers even though your boys play in the Eastern Cream Puff Conference? We all know you’re just so frustrated that Sergeant Sad Sack and The Lie could only manage one championship while Kobe racked up five. Plus if I were a pathetic celtic’s fan I’d be mad that all you have are the hagged out celtic crones instead of the stunningly gorgeous Laker Girls.

        Don’t worry as long as you stalk lakerluvr I’ll keep proving that you are the most pathetic piece of scum posting here. After threatening lakerluvr with physical violence they should never have let you back posting here.

  12. zacksdad - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Then it is clear, Howard may or may not sign with the Lakers. He does not like playing for him at all. I could see him leaving for this reason alone.

    Great job Jimmie, his thinking may have been like this.

    Phil or Mike? Well one of the best players was named Mike, I should hire a coach called Mike. But that did not work for Mike Brown. Well then maybe it will work this time.

    Great job Jimmie.

    Jerry RIP, we miss you.

  13. goldmember21 - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Mr Pringles to coach the lakers next year. Saweeeet!

  14. lakerluver - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    If this is Mitch’s call, fine. In Mitch I trust.

  15. ajacobs1979 - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Disclaimer: I am a die-hard Laker fan, but I promise you a rational and realistic one! The “growing pains” experienced by Mike D’Antoni and this year’s squad have been discussed ad nauseum. And I agree with the point that D’Antoni HAS adjusted over time to our roster, preferred offensive sets, etc. Preaching defense is important, but that’s where I have concerns outside of our coach. Our roster contains only two players (out of 15!) who are consistently plus defenders…Howard and MWP. The rest are capable of good defense at times (e.g., Blake, Pau, Meeks) , or can’t play defense at all (e.g., Nash, Jamison). So add it all up and you have a mostly aging roster composed primarily of players who have never been known for their defensive prowess. It doesn’t matter who coaches, because the personnel simply have glaring limitations on that end of the court. Phil Jackson’s best Laker teams were younger and/or had more solid defensive players. I would venture to say our team defense has noticeably (if not significantly) improved over the past month or two, and at least some of the credit MUST be given to the coaching staff. But really, how much more can we realistically expect? The effort is there, but our roster simply doesn’t have the skill/quickness/strength. At this point I feel comfortable saying we defend well enough to win when our offense is also clicking. No, it’s not a championship-caliber team, but you can’t fault D’Antoni for the hand he was dealt. Everyone knows we’re at the tail end of the Kobe/Pau era, so the Lakers are planning for 2014 while still doing what they can to field a playoff caliber team. Most teams would kill for rebuilding/transition years where they still make the playoffs! And again, if all our players were relatively healthy most of the season, who knows how differently things might have turned out. But that didn’t happen, and you can’t argue the Lakers haven’t fought hard to make their season respectable.

  16. scalfor3 - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    I wonder what OmniusPrime thinks of this?

  17. eugenesaxe - Apr 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    No sense bringing in another coach when they have no shot at having a “Lakers season”, complete with contending. Give him next year, the team climbs out from under Kobe’s/Gasol’s contracts, rebuilds, THEN they hire the new guy.

  18. misterdreamer119 - Apr 18, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Good lakers will suck next year too.

  19. kb2408 - Apr 18, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    @truprof, “poisoness Mamba”? Dude, you’re stupid. I’m a huge Lakers fan and I’m saying right here, right now, they have no chance of winning a title without Kobe. Had it not been for Kobe carrying the Lakers when Pau was struggling, Dwight was struggling and Nash was out, they wouldn’t even be in the playoffs right now.

    • truprof - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      They had no chance of winning a title with Kobe, so with Kobe out, nothing has changed. That’s how much of a difference his absence makes – none!

  20. muhangis - Apr 18, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    HOW???? WHY????

  21. lakerluver - Apr 19, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    I have one, and only one username on here, sir. And it is LAKERLUVER.

  22. omniusprime - Apr 19, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Well the Lakers are in for another dismal season if Dumbtoni is coming back. If Kupcake is so stupid as to want to bring back one of the most incompetent coaches in Laker history then it’s time for a management change. I hear Phil Jackson is itching to get into management and I’d love to see him replace Kupcake since Kupcake seems to have gone brain dead.

    Next Kupcake will break Laker fan’s hearts by saying that Ancient Trash Nash is coming back along with Steve Flake. These two sorry excuses for point guard are the weak link of the Lakers, too old and slow to play defense. We definitely need a better bench than the sorry bench we’ve had the past few years.

    What good is offense when Dumbtoni is too clueless about defense? Defense wins championships, remember? Dumbtoni’s offense isn’t worth squat and so what if he adjusted long after his ways were losing too many games. Dumbtoni made adjustments too late and too little, and only after getting jacked up by the fans for his pathetic coaching.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash and Steve Flake!!! Get Well Soonest Kobe!!!

  23. paulhargis53 - Apr 19, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    omniusprime: What a great post! I bet you were on the verge of a gripper while typing it, exactly the type of response I’m looking for! Thank you!!!

    lakerluver, kb, bozosforall, 2ndlakerzealot and yourself are neck and neck for worst poster.

    I didn’t threaten LL with violence, I said I wanted to settle our differences in person.
    You are proving nothing but how easily you are manipulated.

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