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Report: Lakers will bring back Mike D’Antoni (other reports say that’s not official… yet)

Apr 26, 2014, 3:33 AM EDT

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

If you want to see how angry you can make your friend the Lakers’ fan, just read him this next sentence:

The Lakers are bringing back Mike D’Antoni for another season.

That is exactly what will happen, reports Mark Heisler in the Orange County Register. But other well-connected reporters say that is not the case, at least not officially yet.

Here is what Heisler reported:

After 10 days of soul searching, the key figures in Lakers management are agreed on bringing back D’Antoni for a third season as coach, a source with knowledge of the deliberations told the Register…

The Lakers have yet to inform D’Antoni of anything, but they intend to keep him, absolving him of blame for the 27-55 finish without Bryant and Steve Nash for 141 of a possible 162 games…

Jim is aligned with GM Mitch Kupchak, a steadfast D’Antoni defender emerging as an ever-stronger figure with a multi-year extension in the wake of their misadventures.

Other reporters, ones well connected and often breaking Lakers story, say that is not official. Here are a couple:

Three quick thoughts.

First, all bets are off until GM Mitch Kupchak and D’Antoni sit down and talk and that could be week or more. Things change upon further reflection sometimes.  It’s seemed for a while that Kupchak was a D’Antoni supporter, but it was not clear if he could persuade Jim Buss and others to stick with D’Antoni. Ding’s line that they are leaning toward keeping him but nothing is set seems a more probable current reality.

Second, if they do keep D’Antoni it would frustrate the Lakers’ $48 million man Kobe Bryant — who at his age and coming off knee injuries is not a fit for D’Antoni’s uptempo system. Kobe reportedly wants a change but Kupchak has said it’s not Kobe’s call. Keeping D’Antoni would ensure Pau Gasol would not be a Laker next season.

Finally, it would anger Lakers fans. There is a palpable dislike of him among the Lakers fan base and to keep him would be seen as another misstep from a new management they do not trust. There would be genuine anger.

D’Antoni gets more blame for the Lakers’ stumbles than he should — those fans should blame management. All D’Antoni has done since being hired is be himself, that was just obviously and always a bad fit with this roster.

D’Antoni’s system can win — the Miami Heat have won a couple of titles running a lot of it, even the Spurs run parts of it — but he is not terribly flexible about it. D’Antoni wants to play his way, win his way — he is not radically modifying that system to fit the players on the roster. Which is why he was always an odd fit for the Lakers. Last season you had an injured Dwight Howard who doesn’t like the pick-and-roll and an aging Kobe Bryant who couldn’t play at that pace, not to mention the older Steve Nash who couldn’t keep up anymore either. This past season the Lakers still didn’t have a roster that fit the coach’s system well, then on top of that they get desiccated by injuries.

If you’re not going to give D’Antoni a D’Antoni roster, if you’re not fully committed to building his kind of team, then he shouldn’t be your coach. The Lakers are not committed to it — they want to see what big star they can land then figure out the system. So to them, why not keep D’Antoni in place and be entertaining until things sort themselves out?

Because it is just stalling. If you’re going to build a new system, then get the guy to do it.

And in the name of stalling they would take a big public relations hit. Fair or not.

But that seems to be the way the Lakers are leaning.

  1. addict2sport - Apr 26, 2014 at 4:22 AM

    I never thought I’d ever see the day the Lakers would run things like the Clippers used to while the Clippers run things like the Lakers used to.

    • therealhtj - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      It took a cowardly act by the commissioner to make the Clippers relevant. Lest you forget who the Clippers are at their core, Donald Sterling will find some way to remind you.

      • apkyletexas - Apr 26, 2014 at 12:41 PM

        No, it took a cowardly act by the Lakers to propose their second blockbuster trade in five years that would enrich themselves while gutting a poorer team.

        After Jerry West played the perfect double agent and sent them Gasol for nothing from Memphis, very few NBA owners were going to sit by and let it happen again. I know the Spurs raised a huge stink about the Gasol trade, and the Paul trade wasn’t looking any more digestible in terms of what the Lakers were giving up for the league’s top point guard.

      • 5xchamp24 - Apr 26, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        I’m a Laker fan, and had CP3 been a Laker yes I would be happy and cheering us on. But i don’t like him cause he flops and hes a dirty player. I just don’t like floppers and dirty players

      • therealhtj - Apr 26, 2014 at 2:12 PM

        Another clueless anti-Laker troll still giving Jerry West credit for sending Gasol to the Lakers. He wasn’t involved with the grizz at that point, and as everyone now sees, getting cap flexibility and Marc Gasol wasn’t the heist you make it out to be.

        Not sure how you can call a deal agreed to by a New Orleans front office empowered to make the trade a cowardly act by the Lakers other than the fact that it works for your troll agenda.

        It still doesn’t change the fact that as an African American, I’d never give a penny to a Donald Sterling-owned team and I’m still a little bit surprised it took him this long to show his true racist colors yet again.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 26, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        apkyletexas – Apr 26, 2014 at 12:41 PM
        No, it took a cowardly act by the Lakers to propose their second blockbuster trade in five years that would enrich themselves while gutting a poorer team.

        Yes how dare the Lakers try to improve their team.

      • mackcarrington - Apr 26, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        West was no longer a Memphis employee when the Gasol trade went down.

    • duskr - Apr 26, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      the clippers have a top tier coach over there… the lakers.. mike d antoni…

  2. campcouch - Apr 26, 2014 at 7:08 AM

    what big name could they find to replace him. Anyways,it’s smart business. Why fire a coach on a rebuilding team that’s waiting for the 2015 FA market. You’d have to pay him and the new coach plus Mike Brown (still). Let him run the team until 2015 or even 2016. Send him off,let Kobe retire and start with a new coach…probably Calipari and his hair.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      Your comment is too accurate: hence, the thumbs downs.

    • therealhtj - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      Why fire a coach in light of next season’s prospects, or this hillbilly clueless coach in particular? Why fire a guy who said if the fans don’t like it they should go root for another team? Why fire a guy who benched Pau Gasol because “he was trying to win,” ran Kobe into the ground, and pushed Dwight Howard out the door? Because at this point you have no choice.

      I do not for one second believe Mitch Kupchak is championing this loser. A former bruising power forward can in no way respect what this buffoon brings to the table. It’s about as realistic as Mitch believing Kobe’s contract still gives them flexibility to make a splash in free agency. He’s nothing but the Buss family parakeet at this point – regurgitating whatever nonsense they tell him to spew.

      Look, the Lakers may not have a big name waiting in the wings, but this mushmouthed, inbred, hayseed has no business coaching this or any other team. Pick a name out of a hat and you can find someone better suited.

      Any thing less than his immediate dismissal was already a slap in the fans face. He should’ve been gone before his post game press conference after game 82.

      Well, at least the trolls are happy.

      • urodaddy07 - Apr 26, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        I agree, but if LA wants to start being relevant by next season Kobe should volunteer a reworking of his contract; he should offer to accept 6-8million dollars a year less so that they scan beef up the roster. They should definitely fire D’Antoni, even if they take a chance on a guy like Steve Kerr, who wouldn’t command the type of salary a top tier coach would

      • smoothaswilkes - Apr 26, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        @urodaddy07 – Just, no. Stop commenting as a Lakers fan, you are giving us a bad name. First, Kobe can’t rework the contract extension he just signed. It’s not the NFL, once the contract is signed that’s it, for the most part. If Kobe was going to take less it would have been when the FO offered that ridiculously handicapping contract extension. Second, Kobe is probably worth more than 6-8 million. Last, why in the hell would the Lakers sign a coach that zero NBA experience and would probably install the triangle, which the Lakers just spent the last few years wiping out any remnant of either philosophically or physically. (Okay, maybe they’d hire Kerr out of spite to PJ, but that would be some bs move.)

        @campcouch – No Calipari. No. Way. Never.

  3. hojo20 - Apr 26, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    Once they rebuild the team with players that fit his system they should be okay. It’s a good move not having Kobe be a de-facto GM.

  4. chiadam - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    In other words, no one knows so reporters are shamelessly tweeting that they don’t know, but they’re sort of making it sound like they actually do know. Reporting “we’ll see” is not journalism.

  5. spthegr8 - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Well, that just RUINED my day. SMFH!!!! This right here is my problem with Jimbo short Buss. Everybody knows that D’antoni is NOT the long term solution so, why keep him around any longer.??? Too waste more time.??? Too stunt our lottery pick’s growth.?? Jimbo is a INCOMPETENT MORON!!!!!

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:24 AM

      Have a nice day, anyway.

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 26, 2014 at 12:40 PM

      @ sp

      I feel you bro. I called this a while ago so I’m definitely not surprised, but I’m still disappointed nonetheless. Although I’m not sure if it’s Jimmy that you want to direct your anger upon. The article is saying it’s good ole Mitch that wants him and Jimbo is the one who is not yet sold, so there’s that.

      From a financial standpoint I could see why they’d do it, especially if they think next year is gonna be another wasted year (Kobe’s gonna be PISSED). I know it would be stupid to pay both Mike’s AND a new guy but we seriously need to get the new regime in here ASAP and install a new culture, ESPECIALLY a defensive one now and not waste anymore time. I will be very angry if they start to stack the team with D’Antoni type players on more then one year contracts and then finally dump him in 2015. All I know is that right now I’m borderline about to rage theF out once it’s 100% confirmed.

  6. sportsfan18 - Apr 26, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    And SO many Fakers fans said they would begin their way back towards the top beginning this coming season too!

    Gonna have to wait one more year for that…

    Uh Kobe, you said that this organization would NOT take a nose dive… uh, is your nose too close to the gravel to see the parking lot? Ya’ll crash landed a while ago and the wreckage is still smoldering Kobe…

    And now your leaders pull the old fire hose out to try and put out any remaining flames and ya’ll find out there is GASOLINE coming out of the hose!

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 26, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      Lakers record two seasons ago… 45 – 37

      Lakers record this season… 27 – 55

      Two year record… 72 – 92 (hey, didn’t the Bulls win 72 games in ONE season once?)

      I do NOT see the Lakers being 20 games OVER .500 next season and THAT means that for a THREE year period, the Lakers will have a LOSING record.

      Here is a QUOTE of what Kobe said… “This organization is just not going to go [down],” Bryant said. “It’s not going to take a nose dive.”

      Well Kobe, having a losing record OVER a THREE year period is not simply just one bad season… IT IS A NOSE DIVE for an organization with the history and pride of the Lakers.

      For other teams, it is normal. For the Lakers franchise, it IS a nose dive.

      Just because folks do NOT like hearing or reading this does NOT mean it isn’t true…

      These be facts, folks…

      I’ll have my popcorn ready for when coach D’Antoni rolls the ball out there to begin next season…

  7. imakcds - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    I am a Total Laker Fan, but I lost patience when giving up 90-100 pts thru THREE Qtrs became the Norm.
    idc about any other reason, No Defense is why D’Antoni’s GOT to go.

  8. brookwell2013 - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    Leaving aside the economics for a moment, D’Antoni is clearly not the answer. He is a system coach and not a players coach. Everywhere he has been he always doghouses more than several players for substantial lengths of time. He doesn’t relate well to the players at all….he’s not a teacher…or a motivator…or a screamer….he just is a prickly guy to be around. Just about everyone who has played for him says that……but the most important reason to me to let the guy go is that he has NEVER WON anything…..he is not a championship coach……if you want to start building a championship team and culture D’Antoni is just not the guy to start with.

  9. martinbay10 - Apr 26, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    Mike D’Antoni is the ideal coach… for a 6’5″ and under league team. He does not know how to coach D or how to use bigs, and alienated them. Pau won’t play for him. Chris Kaman had some great games, but spent more time on the bench than D-league + Robert Sacre. He was in Mike’s dog house for much of the year.

    But this is minor now that Donald Sterling was caught on audio telling his girlfriend to not bring black folks to game. The NBA will need to force a sale, not unlike what MLB did to Frank McCourt, who is not a racist.

  10. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 26, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    I hope they do keep him, if for no other reason than it’ll piss Kobe off. He expects a magical overnight roster overhaul while he brings in 23mil? He goes on record saying he doesn’t like D’Antoni? I hope Kupchak does keep D’Antoni just to put Kobe in his place.

    • kb2408 - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:06 PM

      Yeah, the LAKERS sure “put Kobe in his place”….to the tune of 48 million for two years. I wish someone would put me in my place like that.

      • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 26, 2014 at 8:55 PM

        The “putting him in his place” part comes where they tell him he’s playing for D’Antoni, like it or not.

  11. billtetley53 - Apr 26, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Ahahahaha! The LA fanbase deserves everything they are getting!

    • kb2408 - Apr 26, 2014 at 6:03 PM

      Ahh, my old nemesis billbitely53 returns. Don’t get too excited, sir, Mike D is a lame duck coach.

    • billtetley53 - Apr 27, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      Eugene, by now you should know kb2408 is like a small child.
      You need to basically draw him a picture to explain things. Hes a 40 year old moron.
      I dont know how he makes it through each day alive, he must have live in caretakers.

  12. kamauthabiti - Apr 26, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    he is the worst that the Lakers have ever had. keeping him and losing all of their fans doesn’t make sense, so who is going to pay to see this disaster coach.

  13. rainmaker1982 - Apr 26, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    This is extremely depressing news. I bet you D’Antoni is even surprised he’s coming back.

  14. ocgunslinger - Apr 26, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    IF the bring D’Antoni back it will just be another big management mistake. Pay for three coaches if you must but you must not have the same coach next year. Consequences will ripple through the true Laker fan base and you will not have a single sell out game in 2015

  15. intelectable - Apr 26, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    Dessicated by injuries? They had their bodily fluids dry up because of injuries? I think you meant “decimated.”

  16. El Pollo Loco - Apr 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM


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