The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly bringing coach Mike D’Antoni back on for another season, much to the chagrin of their fan base.
The Orange County Register reported that “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,” according to “sources with knowledge.” This comes despite the fact that the Lakers finished 27-55, their worst record in franchise history. The Register reports that D’Antoni has yet to be informed of the move.
D’Antoni’s future with the team had been up in the air not only because of their terrible season, but also because some keys players expressed their dissatisfaction with him as a coach.
“I’ve never concealed the fact that D’Antoni’s style doesn’t suit my game,” Lakers center Pau Gasol wrote on his website. “I don’t know if my decision will be swayed by whether Mike stays or leaves. Obviously, the coach is a very important factor for any team.”
Kobe Bryant also said in March that he had “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni next season.
However, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said that Bryant’s opinions would not factor into whatever decision management made about D’Antoni.
“We won’t consult with him,” Kupchak told USA Today. “Our decisions going forward — we’re not going to do knee-jerk stuff. We’ll let the season end, and take some time.”
It is important to note that this decision could have had something to do with D’Antoni’s contract. He signed a three-year contract in 2012, so had they fired him, the Lakers would be paying D’Antoni, former coach Mike Brown (who had signed a three-year deal in 2011 before being fired), and a new coach.