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Report: Lakers leaning toward keeping Mike D’Antoni

Apr 2, 2014, 12:29 PM EDT

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Kobe Bryant reportedly wanted Mike D’Antoni fired. Pau Gasol and D’Antoni have had their run-ins. As have Chris Kaman and D’Antoni.

Oh, and the Lakers stink. At 25-49, they’re on pace for their worst record in 54 years.

Momentum appears to be squarely against D’Antoni – though not necessarily in the Lakers’ front office.

Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:

D’Antoni has one more guaranteed season left on his Lakers contract, and the club is leaning toward retaining him despite some privately disgruntled players and massive public disdain. It’s not clear which way the Lakers will go with him.

The first sentence is very useful information. The second sentence is a pretty major qualifier. It sounds as if the Lakers are somewhere in the vicinity of 55-45 for keeping D’Antoni – hardly odds that justify betting big money on D’Antoni’s return.

There is no doubt D’Antoni, the 2004-05 Coach of the Year, was a great coach. His high-tempo Suns won 62, 54, 61 and 55 games between 2004-05 and 2007-08.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, D’Antoni should be tickled. Since D’Antoni’s peak Phoenix offenses took the league by storm, other teams are playing faster and shooting more 3-pointers

D’Antoni was ahead of his time, which leads to the question… How good a coach is D’Antoni now?

Maybe his schematic advantage has slipped since other coaches have caught onto the value of playing quickly and shooting 3s. That leaves D’Antoni to set himself apart by continuously innovating and better teach his schemes.

But it seems D’Antoni’s message is already wearing thin in Los Angeles – though thanks to the coach’s agent, Kaman is talking a much softer tone now – and players don’t tend to listen better with more time.

The factor most working in D’Antoni’s favor: The Lakers might settle for one more rebuilding year next season – getting younger and avoiding the luxury tax (and delaying repeater penalties) before a loaded 2015 free agent class that includes Kevin Love. If they do that, they as might as well keep D’Antoni rather than paying two coaches. Plus, they’ll be better positioned to hire a new coach a year later when the team is better.

I doubt that plan would sit well with Kobe, who wants to contend immediately. So, if the Lakers keep D’Antoni due to rebuilding, it could cause a rift between the coach and the team’s biggest star.

In other words, the Lakers are weighing paying an extra few million for coaching and the odds of internal combustion. Not a fun choice, but it would at least be understandable why they’d keep D’Antoni.

  1. irvfin3 - Apr 2, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    Jerry Buss is rolling in his grave as we speak.

  2. brookwell2013 - Apr 2, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    Enough already, this guy is a bum, B-U-M and has been everywhere he’s been. He’s never won ANYTHING. It doesn’t matter how many regular season games his teams have won — he’s never won a championship. Worse, he’s a “doghouse” coach — he puts players in his doghouse and they never see the light of day. A pox on his house, we’ll all be beter off if he gets the heck out of the league…..finally, have you SEEN his press conferences??? He is just dripping with hate and sarcasm at everyone. Enough. Fire the bum.

  3. 00maltliquor - Apr 2, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    Told you guys. The Lakers are keeping him. I would be shocked to see him be let go.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:34 PM

      Guys didn’t like that. I did.

    • 2phatt2 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      You are 100% on point, regardless how this season turns out, that was the plan. And D’Toni knew that little Jimmy and Kupcake didn’t want to eat another coach’s salary.

  4. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    It makes no sense to get a new coach/pay 2 guys HC money when they’re not going to do anything next season. Kobe got his, now Kobe just needs to shut up about contending. He made it an unrealistic goal.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      The Lakers made it an unrealistic goal. No on put a gun to their head to hand him that contract. What, Kobe’s supposed to just leave tens of millions of dollars behind because the CBA needs to make it possible for teams like Charlotte to exist?

      • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 3, 2014 at 5:37 PM

        Kobe should take every penny they’re willing to give him. He should also be smart enough to realize that by accepting that deal, he ruled out competing, and has no business saying he expects the front office to build him a contender.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:16 AM

        Of course he can expect them to build a contender. That’s their job. If they couldn’t do that as a result of offering him that contract that’s their failure, not his.

        It’s not a hard cap. They could spend over it if they want to. Hell they could have also fought harder during the lockout to to prevent these huge penalties for approaching the luxury tax. The entire ordeal was entirely in the hands of the front office. If they can’t do their job then it’s not on anyone else.

  5. sasquash20 - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    This guy should go to college where he could build a program to his system. He will never win anything in the NBA

  6. tomtravis76 - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Doesn’t look like Kobe will be finishing his career in LA. Don’t know who could take on that contract that is in contention, but some trade demands will be swirling in the rumor mill.

  7. 1harrypairatesties - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:51 PM

    Holy Cow. What are the Lakers doing keeping this guy? His system is obviously not working there and I feel sorry for Jack & the rest of the Lakers fans. Get a new coach, hello!*#• Maybe ask $teve Na$h to retire too. You know,.. As a personal favor for like, all of L.A.

  8. xli2006 - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    Paying Kobe $30 Million BEFORE he returns from a major injury.

    Keeping D’ Antoni after this debacle of a season and despite the negative tone from the players.

    The Lakers are a mess.

    • 2phatt2 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      By paying Kobe $24 mil makes sense to the Lakers, first when he demand a trade during the season, no team can afford to take on his contract. And he will demand a trade with this cast of D’ leaguers, another wasted season.

  9. fearthehoody - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Clipps own LA! 3 years and counting!!!!

    • ranfan12 - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      Hey now, they at least need to collect some WCF banners at least for a start.

  10. ranfan12 - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    April Fool’s is over…

  11. daveoo - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    This is not the Jerry Buss way that I have been accustomed too the past 30 years. Jerry always found a way to please the fans and the franchise player. If the Lakers keep D’Antoni in any capacity it will be a failure on and off the court.

  12. daveoo - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    This is not the Jerry Buss way!

  13. ranfan12 - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Lakers obviously aren’t trying to do too much next year, so it makes sense to keep mike and hill go.

  14. cpcheung - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    Kobe tried to contend against Phil Jackson before and now against D’Antoni. Do you want one player run the entire team and and become a super-coach or the boss of his coach? It has been a bad habit of NBA to let one superstar intimidate, put down, and resist against his coach. Kobe, Carmelo, and Howard are the same type. Fortunately, Kevin Durant and LeBron James are very cooperative and respectful with their coaches and they deserve more respect and appreciation from all fans.

  15. omniusprime - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    If Jerky Boy Jimmy and Klueless Kupcake bring back Dumbtoni then they are without a doubt the dumbest morons to ever run an NBA franchise with his pathetic coaching stye. Klueless Kupcake has turned into a pathetic yes man. They were stupid to keep this worthless piece of trash this long. Only a fool would ever think that Dumbtoni was ahead of his time, or anyone else’s. He had a great team but couldn’t beat the Lakers.

    Kobe should just hang it up now, he’ll never win another ring with this group of garbage that he’s saddled w=playing with and for. Kobe should demand a trade to a contending team that needs leadership and a good swift kick in the rear to get motivated. Kobe should realize by now that upper mismanagement has no intention of doing anything other than trying to maximize profits at his expense.

    As long as Trash Nash and Dumbtoni are Lakers I will not be a Laker fan and will root for them to lose every game. I just gave up on the worthless NBA and don’t even bother watching or caring about anything this pathetic league of overpaid losers has to offer.

    Fire Jerky Boy Jimmy & Klueless Kuocake!

    • truprof - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      “I just gave up on the worthless NBA and don’t even bother watching or caring about anything this pathetic league of overpaid losers has to offer.” – omniusprime

      Promise? And while you’re at it, add that you’ll not comment any further.

  16. hdsnake867 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Jim Buss is the Hank Steinbrenner of basketball. They should both be the poster boys for pro abortion.

  17. sdlakerfan - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Excessively negative? For the hand D’Antoni was dealt this year I don’t think he did a poor job. The team is mostly comprised of first round busts and D league call-ups. And even they couldn’t stay healthy. And for the most part they were fun to watch. Before Kobe came back they were over achieving and amazingly winning about half their games. There are very few great coaches and almost any coach they get would be blasted on this board too. I think they should keep D’Antoni for one more year, resign Pau to a reasonable contract, get a nice immediate contributor from the draft (Randle), hope Kobe and Nash come back healthy, pick up a good free agent or two, and give it another yr. They aren’t going to win the championship next yr next yr anyway. Wouldn’t mind seeing D’Antoni go but they could do much much worse (Mike Brown).

    • truprof - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      Now there’s a voice of logic and reason. D’Antoni is hardly the cause of the Laker’s woes. Age, injuries and a poorly constructed roster have much more to do with their lack of success than anything else.

  18. nodisgrace - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Time Warner, with TV ratings down 50%, will influence the decision. Another season fielding 30+ lineups, no defense, and inability to get players to gel as a team is totally unacceptable. Contact your cable provider, threaten to cancel, negotiate a new rate, and be sure to state D’Antoni is the reason for wanting to cancel. If the Lakers won’t listen to fans, try another vector. The team is hurt, but still has enough talent to be coached to a playoff berth. D-Antoni says if we don’t like it, find another team to cheer….not ruin next year’s reconstituted team.

  19. revsouly - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    The endgame has been to get Kobe to request a trade all along. They won’t take a PR hit if he requests the trade instead of them forcing him out openly.

    It’s easy to see, it is the “make the nest uncomfortable & the baby birds leave on their own”

    Trade Fisher (Kobes “brother”)….don’t tell Kobe first
    Trade Pau & Odom….don’t tell Kobe first
    Court Phil, then diss Phil…
    Amnesty Arrest….makes Kobe upset
    Trade Blake…..Kobe upset
    Keep D’antoni another year… straw

    They get to clear their books, rebuild at their own pace. Plan complete

  20. rudeawakening999 - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    If D’Antoni stays they will not get any good players this summer unless they pay them double what they are worth. The sooner they get a good coach the sooner they can instill a winning system and start drawing some good free agents.

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