As an undeniably dismal season winds down in Lakerland, there’s little doubt that head coach Mike D’Antoni’s job status is rocky at best. According to a report, L.A.’s front office is looking for a “peaceful, mutual” way to let D’Antoni go. Uh, sure? Per the NY Daily News:
It doesn’t appear as if D’Antoni will survive and make it to next season.
The ex-Knicks coach has turned into a polarizing figure during what has been the Lakers’ worst season since arriving in Los Angeles in 1960. So it would be extremely difficult for the Lakers to bring him back. They also are looking to change their style to one that better fits Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, whom they plan on re-signing this summer when he becomes free.
One league source said there is sentiment within the Lakers’ executive offices for a “peaceful, mutual parting’’ with D’Antoni, who has one season left on his contract at $4 million. There’s another season beyond that, but it is at the team’s option.
“They don’t want to fire Mike,’’ the source said.
The Lakers announced this past week that GM Mitch Kupchak had agreed to a multiyear extension. Although he’s supported D’Antoni during what has been a disastrous season, Kupchak is said to be on board with the idea that the Lakers can’t keep playing the same way under the coach, with no regard for defense and an offense that doesn’t properly utilize Gasol.
The Lakers are hoping for a best-case scenario: Another team asks to hire away D’Antoni. Then he could be freed up to leave and the Lakers wouldn’t get their hands dirty with their second firing of their coach in 17 months, following Mike Brown’s dismissal after a 1-4 start in November, 2012. They would then be able to make a popular move with their fans by hiring Byron Scott or current assistant coach Kurt Rambis, both of whom are part of the Lakers’ brand as ex-players from the Showtime days of the ’80s.