The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly going to bring back Mike D’Antoni next year even though they have not formally told him yet.
D’Antoni meets with Jim Buss next week, but Mark Heisler reports that the team has agreed to bring back coach. D’Antoni reportedly wants his option picked up for the season after so he is not a lame duck next year.
The Lakers will have a top draft pick and may draft someone like point guard Dante Exum of Australia or maybe someone like Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, who could potentially be a hybrid of Shawn Marion and Blake Griffin.
D’Antoni was brought in after the Lakers unceremoniously fired Mike Brown and refused to hire someone like Phil Jackson or Kurt Rambis two years ago. They promptly could not play defense and, even after Steve Nash got hurt against Portland two years ago, D’Antoni still tried to impose his “seven seconds or less” offense on a team better built for a high-post offense with an aging Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard.
Predictably, players soon became frustrated and disgruntled. Howard eventually left. Gasol has openly said D’Antoni’s style does not suit his.
After playing Kobe Bryant nearly every minute two years ago to try to make the playoffs, Bryant’s body finally gave out, tearing his Achilles in a game against Golden State. Bryant returned this year for six games, signed a two-year extension, then promptly injured himself again and missed this season, which was the Lakers’ worst since they came to Los Angeles from Minnesota.
After the death of owner Dr. Jerry Buss, who created the pioneering “Showtime” brand that transformed the NBA, the Lakers have been embroiled in conflict, with Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss, whom those associated with the late Buss believes should be running the team and who is engaged to new Knicks president and former Lakers coach Phil Jackson.
Jim Buss reportedly said that he would resign if the Lakers are not contenders in three or four years, and he and general manager Mitch Kupchack