On Wednesday evening, the Los Angeles Lakers announced that Mike D’Antoni would be stepping down as Head Coach of the Lakers.
They went on to say that ‘although no timetable has been established, the search for a replacement will begin immediately.’
Mike Trudell, the Lakers Reporter, updated on twitter that ‘D’Antoni met with Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss at the team’s facility, where the conversation resulting in D’Antoni resigning took place…The Lakers declined to pick up the option year (2015-16) on Mike D’Antoni’s contract, as D’Antoni and his agent had requested.’
D’Antoni is the fourth head coach for the Lakers in less than three years. He took over from Mike Brown who was fired in the 2012-13 season. Brown had replaced 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson.
D’Antoni’s relationship with his players was somewhat tumultuous. While supposedly having a good relationship with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, Paul Gasol and Dwight Howard didn’t take to him as kindly. Howard left after one season, signing with the Houston Rockets. Gasol often voiced his displeasure with the direction of the team and his role on the court.
Magic Johnson was also critical of D’Antoni’s coaching style and seemed vey happy with his departure.
Happy days are here again! Mike D’Antoni resigns as the Lakers coach. I couldn’t be happier!
Lakers general manager, Mitch Kupchak said in a statement last night, “Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons.” “On behalf of the Lakers, we thank Mike for the work ethic, professionalism and positive attitude that he brought to the team every day. We wish him the best of luck.”