APRIL 23RD: D’Antoni told Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick that he won’t take the job, reports Chuck McGill of the Charleston Daily Mail. Borzello confirms that it’s unlikely D’Antoni ends up at Marshall next season. Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com refutes the part of McGill’s report indicating that D’Antoni has met with Lakers co-owner Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak several times regarding his future with the club (Twitter links). Shelburne says that they haven’t met with him outside of the team’s exit interviews last week, and that his return for next season remains undecided.
MARCH 27TH: 10:16pm: There is mutual interest between D’Antoni and Marshall, a source tells Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports, who also hears that there are donors willing to pony enough up money to woo the current Lakers coach back to his alma mater.
7:09pm: Marshall University has reportedly reached out to Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni to gauge his interest in coaching the team next year, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and Marc Stein. The program is looking to replace former head coach Tom Herrion, who was recently fired after four seasons. This isn’t the first time that Marshall has pursued D’Antoni to coach their team, and sources tell Goodman and Stein that the latest inquiry was made because the school always “(sounds) him out” any time they have an opening. The 62-year-old coach D’Antoni attended Marshall from 1970 to 1973 before being selected in the second round of the 1973 NBA Draft and continues to be held in high regard by his alma mater.
Though Marshall’s interest coincides with D’Antoni’s uncertain future in Los Angeles, Goodman and Stein hear that it’d be highly unlikely for the embattled coach – who is still under contract for two more years after 2013/14 (one season guaranteed) – to make a move to the collegiate level even if the Lakers parted ways with him this summer.
After leading Phoenix to at least 54 wins each year and topping the 60-win mark twice between 2004 to 2008, D’Antoni has struggled to consistently replicate that success in New York in Los Angeles, respectively. Once coined an “offensive genius” by LeBron James and an “offensive mastermind” by Kobe Bryant, D’Antoni holds just a .430 winning percentage since 2008/09 and is yet to win his first playoff game in nearly six years.