The Los Angeles Lakers have made an announcement on Wednesday informing everyone that the present coach is resigning. Mike D’Antoni has made a tough decision to step down as the head coach of the Lakers. He is just one of four in this revolving door at the Staples Center. When D’Antoni became a coach for the tarnished franchise it was directly after terminating Mike Brown. Brown was let go for making bad coaching decisions, and if D’Antoni would have stayed, the same may have transpired. Mitch Kupchak made a statement about his feeling on their former coach “Given the circumstances, I don’t know if anybody could of done a better job.”
At the time of D’Antoni’s departure, this Lakers was left in shambles. They were at the bottom of the Western Conference with a disappointing 27-55 record. It is actually a franchise low. However, there were many different factors that took place in this embarrassing record. This team was riddled with injures and rookies. They just did not have enough depth to last with the more quality teams. It was almost like the odds were stacked against D’Antoni this season.
The idea of him leaving the franchise has not surprised anyone because there were prior discussions about it. According to ESPN correspondent Ramona Shelburne, D’Antoni had been discussing this with Lakers owners as the end of the season. He made a request that they pick up the team option on his last year. It was done in an effort to empower him and reduce constant speculation. However, the team denied his proposal so he left with $4 million on the table.
Moving forward the Lakers will eventually search for a coach after the NBA draft has passed. They would like to focus on building a franchise some one would love to call home. There is no word on any specific candidates, but surely names will surface soon. They are not likely to have a coach in place before May 20. They are still not settled on what type coach they want for the next season.
As of now, the Lakers only have three players signed to contracts for next year. Two of the three returning players will be Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. That is the reason why this upcoming draft and free agents are so important. This team is trying to regain some since of consistency like the Laker teams of the past.
When the word was delivered about D’Antoni’s resigning, many Lakers past in present decided to weigh in. Magic Johnson tweeted “Happy days are here again! Mike D’Antoni resigns as the Lakers coach. I couldn’t be happier!”
Many of the young players on the team expressed their sympathy, while reminding people they had no issues with him. The only player that possibly agreed with the thoughts and feeling is the Lakers outspoken captain Kobe Bryant. He was not shy about his feeling for his coach during the season. He called out the Lakers owners and demanded a change.
D’Antoni had some parting words in his defense saying every coach should be under scrutiny, and he added things don’t always going smoothly.
Commentary by Schelett Rickenbacker