It’s only the middle of March, and a lot of things can change between now and the opening night of next season in seven months’ time, though it looks as if the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t currently planning to fire head coach Mike D’Antoni when the season comes to an end.
According to Mike Bresnahan from the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers see D’Antoni as a “capable coach and don’t want to be known as a franchise that lacks coaching stability.”
If the team fired D’Antoni and hired another coach, the Lakers would’ve had four coaches at the helm over a five-year period.
Also, the Lakers don’t want to pay D’Antoni his $4 million in guaranteed salary if he isn’t going to be coaching the team, per Bresnahan.
Firstly, coaching stability isn’t something the Lakers should be worrying about. These days, NBA teams fire and hire coaches on a regular basis, so the Lakers shouldn’t hang onto D’Antoni just because they think it’ll help with their reputation around the league.
Gregg Popovich and Erik Spoelstra are the only two coaches in the Association who are at least two contracts in with their current team, per Sean Deveney.
Secondly, $4 million is a lot of money to most people, but it’s spare change to the the second-most valuable franchise in the league.
The Lakers aren’t afraid to spend – or lose – money when it means they’re making a basketball-related move. If they truly want to let D’Antoni go, $4 million won’t prevent them from firing the 68-year-old.
However, it remains to be seen whether the Lakers really do want to part ways with D’Antoni.
As Bresnahan notes, the Lakers see D’Antoni as a “capable coach,” and that may very well be true. After all, this Lakers team has been hit by serious injury woes all season long.
Then again, he is undoubtedly flawed in certain areas, with Kobe Bryant apparently being unimpressed by D’Antoni’s management skills. Then there’s his apparent inability to coach defense, plus his poor use of words in the media that sometimes causes mini-riots among Laker fans.
So, yes, while Stephen A. Smith claims D’Antoni won’t be coaching the Lakers again next year, and while Bryant is apparently done playing for his childhood hero, it appears that nobody really knows what will lies ahead for D’Antoni this summer.
Not yet, anyway.