Kobe Bryant won’t be thrilled with this news – the Los Angeles Lakers are said to be “leaning” toward keeping embattled head coach Mike D’Antoni. The front-office seems to like the job he’s done so far, and his D’Antoni’s powerful and influential agent is handling some of the simmering friction with players on the team. Per Bleacher Report:
(Chris) Kaman is the type who has done far more talking than listening in his life, and some of his talking this season has been about D’Antoni’s rigid, uncommunicative, distrustful coaching of the Lakers while not giving Kaman consistent playing time. Just one week earlier, Kaman had revealed that D’Antoni hadn’t talked to him for the previous three weeks.
D’Antoni has one more guaranteed season left on his Lakers contract, and the club is leaning toward retaining him despite some privately disgruntled players and massive public disdain. It’s not clear which way the organization will go with him.
But Kaman’s 15-minute conversation with (Warren LeGarie, D’Antoni’s rep) ended with the agent yelling two words to Kaman: “Thank you. Thank you.”
And whatever it was that LeGarie, a famously smooth negotiator, had said, Kaman did his pregame shooting, came into the locker room and immediately told reporters there that people should be a lot less vicious and a lot more compassionate toward LeGarie’s client, poor Mike D’Antoni.
“He’s not trying to hurt anybody,” Kaman said. “He’s not purposefully doing anything negatively. I think he’s just trying to do the best he can with what we’ve got. All the injuries…I’ve never seen injuries like that before in my life.”
And this: “For as much heat as he takes, I don’t think that he has had a fair shot at it, either.”
And this: “We have to, as players, respect the position of the coach.”
“It’s been a tough year for him, as it has been for a lot of guys,” Kaman said. “Me, in particular, just being in and out, in and out, just trying to figure my way through all of this, I can sort of put myself in his shoes and try to look myself in the mirror and say, ‘What would I do if I was him?’ And it’s hard to answer that question; it’s a tough position.
“Especially with all the injuries we’ve had and all the different things we’ve had to go through, I think it’s no easy task for a coach. Especially with the Lakers. This is a first-rate organization, and they do things better than most. They’re used to winning, and it’s a lot of pressure. And all these injuries didn’t make it any easier for him.”