Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has as much job security as anyone with a fresh extension in hand, but the same can’t be said for coach Mike D’Antoni. We have more on both members of the Lakers braintrust, as we detail:
- Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com hears the Lakers aren’t leaning toward keeping D’Antoni for next season (video link), which conflicts with last week’s dispatch from Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. If anything, the Lakers are leaning toward firing him, McMenamin says, but Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News seconds Ding’s original report, tweeting that the Lakers are indeed leaning toward keeping their coach.
- D’Antoni “probably” won’t be around next season, writes Sam Amick of USA Today, adding that the coach nonetheless has Kupchak’s respect.
- Late Lakers owner Jerry Buss had Byron Scott on a shortlist of coaching candidates, Amick notes in the same piece, though it’s unclear if the Buss family would want to pursue him.
- D’Antoni is weary from a losing season and heaps of criticism, but he still wants to coach the Lakers, as Amick observes. “Hey look, this is a great place,” D’Antoni said. “Any player who has a destination of L.A. — it’s pretty good. I’ve been lucky to be here. I don’t want to say, ‘Oh yeah [I’ll be back],’ but I don’t know. And I’m sure that everybody is going to have to sit down and figure it out. I think the franchise will have a way that they want to get to the best, to the top, and you go with it. And if I’m included in that, great. That’s how it goes.”
- Part of the reason the Lakers extended Kupchak is so he wouldn’t enter next season on an expiring contract, Medina tweets.
- This season “isn’t how we roll,” Lakers owner Jeanie Buss tells Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times, but Buss nonetheless sees bright spots and is optimistic the team is on the right path for the future. Buss also touches on fiancee and Knicks president Phil Jackson and her working relationship with brother and co-owner Jim Buss.