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Report: Kobe Bryant has “no interest” in playing for Mike D’Antoni next season

Mar 12, 2014, 6:16 PM EDT

Mike D'Antoni; Kobe Bryant AP

Kobe Bryant expects the Lakers front office to turn the Lakers roster around fast. By the start of next season fast (when he will return from his fractured knee). I expect Emily Ratajkowski to call me so we can go out tonight. You can expect whatever you want, doesn’t make it reality.

But if Kobe wants a coaching change… that could happen.

Apparently he does, according to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News (via Lakersnation).

Bryant, sources said, has “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni next season, and wants a new coach in place for the ’14-’15 season.

As Deveney notes, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith suggested Mike D’Antoni would be ousted so the Lakers could chase Carmelo Anthony this summer. I don’t know Smith’s sources, but they sound pretty New York based. I’ll simply say from Los Angeles the Lakers are lukewarm at best on going hard at Carmelo Anthony. Does anyone really see him and Kobe as making the team a contender and providing the franchise a good base for the future?

However nobody in Los Angeles seems to think D’Antoni is the long-term answer, either.

The reason to bring him back is to save money and try to find some young gems. If the Lakers are going to be relatively bad (likely better than this year with a healthy Kobe and a high draft pick) why spend the extra money to bring in another coach?

Because Kobe wants it.

Because Mike D’Antoni’s run-and-gun style is a poor fit for 35-year-old Kobe who operates best as a post or elbow player at this point in his career.

That’s two good reasons (plus most of the fan base would welcome it). Elite players should at least be consulted by teams on issues and personnel (something Kobe expressed Wednesday he is frustrated is not happening right now). And as the Lakers are selling Kobe the next couple years to the fan base as they rebuild — he should be happy and in an offense that works for him.

D’Antoni is on thin ice however you view it. Everything in Los Angeles is not his fault — the Lakers have done a very poor job of giving him elite talent that fits his system (the roster was why he was an odd hire to begin with) — but he is going to take the fall. The question is when.

If Kobe wants it sooner rather than later….

  1. chargerdillon - Mar 13, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    If you don’t think coaching is important, look at the job being done in Chicago. How many superstars are playing on the current Bulls team yet they compete in every game.

    I would venture to say there’s 29 better coaches in the NBA right now than what the Lakers have.

    They brought in a coach who cannot change his system in any capacity on a team that had no players to play his system.

    The blunder starts with Lakers management in the first place. Keeping him for a second season is once again failure on Lakers management. Keeping him a third season would require the Lakers management to offer their fans a discount at the prices they’re paying to watch a bust.

  2. JHathwell - Mar 13, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    Just shaking my head here.

    Anyone who thinks D’ Antoni is the problem here is a clueless as the people who are running this team which, as luck would have it, are the real culprits.

    A few questions for you.

    How did this team go from Championship to outhouse in four years?

    Who hired a system coach and never supplied him with the types of players his system needs to succeed?

    Who traded for Dwight Howard, then hired a coach who doesn’t like him?

    Now, here’s some facts for you. The Lakers are on track to finish with the worst record in LA Laker history. The worst.

    The blame starts at the top, people.

  3. program33 - Mar 15, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    We know that it starts at the top. But the coach still needs to go. If you where a professional ball player on any team wanting to win a championship… would you want to play for him? “No” The short answer is Defense.

    • valroide - Mar 20, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      I think the Owners should always be on the same page. I think Kobe & Nash should become Player Coaches. Both should limit their playing time to 20 minutes per game. Kobe could open the 1st quarter & close the 4th quarter. Coach the 2nd & 3rd quarters. Nash could play the 2nd & 3rd quarters & Coach 1st & 4th quarters. They should play between 5 – 7 minutes per quarter.

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