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Lakers’ Mike D’Antoni had ‘breakdown in communication’ with players last year

Aug 31, 2013, 7:41 PM EDT

Antawn Jamison

Mike D’Antoni was brought in as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers just five games into the season last year after the team decided to part ways with Mike Brown. That apparently hurt the new coach’s relationship with his players, specifically vested veteran Antawn Jamison.

Jamison played his 15th season in the league for the Lakers last year, expecting to compete for a title on a team that was supposed to feature Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Jamison, at least a little bit. Injuries derailed portions of the season for the first three, but Jamison was given no explanation for why he fell out of D’Antoni’s rotation for portions of the season — something he puts, in part, on D’Antoni.

Jamison talked to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne about his joining the Clippers and said how excited he is to work with new head coach Doc Rivers, but the veteran forward explained D’Antoni and the team didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye early in the season.

“Mike was pretty much put in a difficult situation,” Jamison said. “There was no training camp where he could get a feel for guys. There was a breakdown of communication when we first got there. And throughout the season it was kind of up and down.

“I don’t dislike Mike. I obviously respect him as a coach. In my eyes, one of the best offensive-minded coaches in the league. I just think he was put in a tough situation … but toward the end of the season you saw him kind of open up, and we started to have a relationship, and I kind of understood where he was coming from.”

Ultimately it makes sense that D’Antoni wasn’t as open with the players when he first arrived, but it likely didn’t help chemistry — a Lakers’ problem throughout the season — when the players didn’t even feel their coach was open with them.

  1. rickyspanish - Aug 31, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    At first I thought Jamison was going to shred D’Antoni, it’s nice to hear a former Laker not trash them on his way out.

    • imakcds - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      what former Laker trashes them on the way out?
      the only notable one who even helped the team (and he sure helped alot) was Shaq, and by doing that, I’ve ‘hated’ Shaq ever since.

  2. legend30 - Aug 31, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Suns – Knicks – Lakers = Mediocrity. Why they hired Pringles again?

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 31, 2013 at 8:21 PM

      those suns teams won a lot of games. That’s what happens with a prime Nash and Stoudemire and Marion.

      • legend30 - Aug 31, 2013 at 9:11 PM

        Yes, the Suns won bunch of games, however, they were never a championship contender under D’Antoni. His team is built for the regular season. Once it’s playoff time expect them to have an early vacation.

      • kb2408 - Aug 31, 2013 at 9:28 PM

        @legend30….I bet you’re the same kind of dude that praises Jerry Sloan and George Karl. Sloan had two HOF’ers and didnt win anything. Don’t give me it’s because of MJ either. Houston won two rings when MJ was playing baseball, why wasn’t that Utah? And Karl is basically Mike D’Antoni. His teams win a lot of games, score a lot of points, aren’t known for defense and never win a title.

      • legend30 - Aug 31, 2013 at 10:45 PM

        kb2408, just go to bed…

      • jcshin89 - Sep 1, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        people need to understand what mike dantoni was capable with suns nash and stoudemire. They didn’t have great team but great chemistry.

      • imakcds - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        Western Conf Finalists is hardly mediocrity.
        Coaching one of your players to be a 2 time League MVP is hardly mediocrity.

  3. abchome - Aug 31, 2013 at 8:51 PM
    It's just one verb short. Use your imagination and stop nitpicking!


  4. kb2408 - Aug 31, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Dude, the title of the article tells you all you need to know….one screwed up sentence doesn’t change that.

    • legend30 - Aug 31, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      Kb2408, calm down…

  5. kb2408 - Aug 31, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    Mike was put in a “no-win” situation. Anything short of a championship was going to get him crushed. I’m not sure if he’s a good coach or not. When he was in N.Y. I felt he was overrated as a coach. However, it seems like every player that he has coached speaks very highly of him as an offensive genius. Kobe and Nash are probably two of the smartest players the NBA has ever seen and they both vouch for his coaching ability. Having a highly coveted free agent on his roster who didn’t buy into his system left no chance for a successful season. Last season was a nightmare from the beginning. Nothing against Mike D but I wish the LAKERS had ridden the season out with Mike Brown. Then maybe they could’ve explored bringing back Phil, B. Shaw or someone else. Unlike many LAKERS fans, now that he is our coach, I support Mike D. I have trust in the Buss family and Mitch. It is laughable to me that some of my fellow LAKER fans seem to think that Jim Buss didn’t learn anything about running the franchise from his dad.

    • adamsjohn714 - Aug 31, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      NBA coaches are largely irrelevant. Outside of Popovich, none of them have any more impact than the other 28 in the league. Mostly, you need good players. Last year the Lakers had plenty of good players, they were just hurt all the time. This season, they don’t have many good players.

      • kb2408 - Aug 31, 2013 at 9:36 PM

        “Plenty of good players”?! Yeah, and they all were hurt for large parts of the season. I will take what we have coming off the bench this season, over what we had last season, any day of the week.

      • abchome - Aug 31, 2013 at 9:41 PM

        I’m not sure. The Bulls won 21 more games after replaceing Vinny Del Negro with Thibodeau. The Lakers won a championship after replacing Kurt Rambis with Phil Jackson.

      • adamsjohn714 - Aug 31, 2013 at 9:42 PM

        Yeah, Howard was quite good and Metta was serviceable. Wesley Johnson, Nick Young, and Kaman are all lousy. Also, all their key players are on the wrong side of 35, so another year isn’t likely to help. Enjoy watching your team, though.

      • kb2408 - Aug 31, 2013 at 10:26 PM

        Look, contrary to popular belief, most LAKERS fans don’t believe we’re going to win the title every season. So what, next season probably won’t end in a championship. But it won’t end in a championship for 30 other teams either. The biggest difference in the LAKERS and those other teams is our track record over the past three plus decades suggest the LAKERS will soon be back on top.

      • legend30 - Aug 31, 2013 at 10:42 PM

        Kb2408, like I said before calm down…

    • legend30 - Aug 31, 2013 at 10:44 PM

      kb2408, it’s that time of the month?

  6. scottheis82 - Sep 1, 2013 at 12:20 AM

    stop posing as some voice of reason telling kb to calm down and such every 1-2 minutes isn’t exactly having it all together yourself… you do realize your comments are time stamped right.

  7. omniusprime - Sep 1, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    Dumbtoni had more than a breakdown in communication last season, he had a breakdown in thinking through how to play the gifted Laker team he inherited last year. Dumbtoni just plain didn’t know what to do except play his ignorant small ball garbage with a team that’s built for big man play.

    Jerky Boy Jimmy Buss had a breakdown in logic when he was in such a rush to not hire Phil jackson and instead hurriedly hired this pathetic piece of garbage for a coach. This season I feel sorry for Kobe because the team is going to be so pathetic it won’t make the playoffs. I won’t bother to watch the Lakers as long as they have garbage like Dumbtoni, Trash Nash and Steve Flake on the team.

    Fire Dumbtoni!!! Trade Trash Nash & Steve Flake!!!

    • nativetexan2012 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      It was Dr. Buss’s decision to hire D’Antoni, and he was also Kobe’s choice after Brown was fired. The gifted Laker team you spoke about had their starting 5 on the floor together for a total of 7 games. I don’t know what kind of miracle worker you expected D’Antoni to be, but no coach is going to have a lot of success coming in after the season started with the kind of injuries this team had from the 2nd game of the season all the way to the playoffs. D’Antoni was brought to LA because of his system, not to play the Triangle. Calling Mike D’Antoni, Steve Nash, and Steve Blake trash reflects more on you than them.

  8. dysraw1 - Sep 1, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    i don’t know Mike D as a person, however as a coach i can tell you in my honest opinion that as head coach of the knicks, that we lost 30 to 40 games due to a lack of preparation. he also had a terrible relationship with a majority of the bigs. so i was happy to see him leave. when he was the head man here, i gave him the title Dick D’antoni i also think that when we did win, it was in spite of his presence

  9. urodaddy07 - Sep 1, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    I don’t know if he is a great offensive coach. I know his Sun’s team put up lots of points and that that he was good at coaching that type of offence. What i also know is that his teams have generally sucked defensively and no bad defensive team has ever won a title, no matter how good an offence you run.

  10. onlyavoice - Sep 1, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Wrong Coach.
    Wrong Players For That System.
    No Training Camp Will Help, Just BS.
    D’Antoni Had Almost An Entire Season, Are Players That Dumb,
    Or Is He That Bad.

    • nativetexan2012 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      Coming to a new team with a lot of new players who have never played together before without a training camp is a problem. That’s obvious. D’Antoni had almost an entire season with a roster that was decimated by injuries and still made the playoffs. Nash missed 32 games, Blake 37, Gasol 33, Hill most of the season, and Howard came into the season just off back surgery and injured his shoulder. The bench was lousy. I don’t know what you expect from a coach, but even the best coaches have to have some time to develop a team. No other coach in the league faced the challenges that D’Antoni faced this season, and I haven’t even mentioned the prima donna who refused to play pick and roll and wanted Kobe amnestied.

  11. therealanalyzer - Sep 1, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Ok first of all the suns were a championship contender & anyone who thinks otherwise doesn’t know basketball. The 56+ almost every year made it to the WCFinals about 4times. In 07 if it wasn’t for Robert horrys hip check the suns would of beat the spurs that year then won game 4 to tie the series and go back home. Game 5 Dias and amare were suspended and the suns only lost by 3pts so think I know damn right amare would of had more then 3 PTs same w diaw. & also Tim donoughy refereed two of those games and admitted to siding w the spurs the games he refereed suns lost. Bottom line suns WOULD have beat Cleveland that year guaranteed

  12. 2bemoore43 - Sep 1, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Dear Mitch,
    Please reach out to Jerry Sloan ASAP!

    • nativetexan2012 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      It’s time to figure out that D’Antoni is the coach the FO wants. Barring some kind of disaster next season, he’s going to be there at least another 2 years. And Jerry Sloan has a job with the Jazz.

  13. imakcds - Sep 2, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    I am a True and Long Time Laker Fan, they are the only team I will truly root for.
    When I read these comments of Laker ‘fans’ that constantly denigrate the team, rant about the ‘bad’ coach, and complain complain complain, I realize it gives great credence to the ‘Most Laker Fans are Bandwagon fans’ Theory.

  14. nativetexan2012 - Sep 2, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Jamison had a problem because he wasn’t happy with the playing time he got when D’Antoni first arrived. Of course, the reason for that was the play of Jordan Hill. D’Antoni came in without a training camp to a team that had a continuing flood of injuries and few practices during the season. Trying to evaluate players and establish any team chemistry was almost impossible under those conditions. Jamison was a key player by the time the season ended, so he had nothing to complain about. I think saying “D’Antoni had a breakdown in communication with players” is an exaggeration. It’s more a matter of players (namely Jamison and Gasol) not being happy with their roles in the beginning and that changing as the season progressed.

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