Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni quits
Associated Press in Los Angeles
Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni resigned on Wednesday after less than two seasons on the job.
Lakers spokesman John Black confirmed D’Antoni’s resignation, ending the brief tenure of the Lakers’ fourth head coach in less than three years.
D’Antoni went 67-87 after taking over the Lakers early in the 2012-13 season. He replaced the fired Mike Brown, who lasted just 71 games after replacing 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson.
The injury-plagued Lakers were 27-55 this season, their worst campaign in more than 50 years. With Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol missing large chunks of the season, Los Angeles missed the playoffs for only the third time in 38 years.
“Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said.
“On behalf of the Lakers, we thank Mike for the work ethic, professionalism and positive attitude that he brought to the team every day. We wish him the best of luck.”
The 62-year-old D’Antoni had one year left on his contract, but wanted the Lakers to pick up his option year for 2015-16 to have any chance of success. The Lakers apparently refused, leading to D’Antoni’s resignation.
"Happy days are here again. Mike D’Antoni resigns as Lakers coach. I couldn’t be happier," former Lakers great Magic Johnson tweeted.
D’Antoni also coached the Suns and the Knicks, reaching two Western Conference finals with Nash in Phoenix before having much less success in New York.
D’Antoni’s signature up-tempo style of play seemed an odd match from the start with the aging, ball-dominating Bryant and the Lakers, who ran Jackson’s deliberate triangle offence to perfection.
Lakers owners Jerry and Jim Buss curiously chose D’Antoni to replace Brown over Jackson, who strongly contemplated a return for a third stint on the Los Angeles bench. Jackson became the president of the Knicks in March.