Lakers Rumors: Nash, D’Antoni, Howard, Gasol

The Lakers' disastrous first half has been one of the major stories for most of the NBA season, but the situation has somehow seemed to get even worse within the last few days. Yesterday, the Lakers "went at each other a little bit" in a team meeting, and then lost in Memphis to fall to 5-15 on the road and 17-25 overall, closer to the Western Conference basement than the eighth playoff spot. What's next? Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the latest on the Lakers….

  • The biggest issue Lakers vice president Jim Buss had with the possibility of choosing Phil Jackson over Mike D'Antoni as the team's head coach was the idea that offseason signee Steve Nash would be marginalized in Jackson's Triangle offense, says Wojnarowski. "The way this turns out," one league source told Wojnarowski. "You've chosen not only Steve Nash over [Pau] Gasol, but maybe over Gasol and Dwight [Howard]."
  • The Mavericks and Hawks have called the Lakers to inquire on Howard, and have been told the big man isn't available, and that the stance won't change before the trade deadline.
  • Sources tell Wojnarowski that the only reason Howard might hesitate about re-signing with the Lakers is the presence of D'Antoni. According to the Yahoo! scribe, the Lakers coach "fundamentally doesn't believe in post play."
  • When he was coaching the Knicks and a possible pursuit of Howard was discussed, D'Antoni told the Knicks front office that USA Basketball preferred Tyson Chandler to Howard, and that "the Knicks would be wise to adopt that thinking," according to Wojnarowski.
  • Gasol, who has been marginalized in D'Antoni's system, is upset and privately expects to be traded, says Wojnarowski.
  • The Lakers are very unlikely to fire D'Antoni, since it would leave them paying $25MM to coaches no longer in Los Angeles (D'Antoni and Mike Brown). But if they did make a change, Wojnarowski suggests that Bernie Bickerstaff may be the Lakers' best option, since he simplified the offense and had the club playing solid defense during his interim stint.

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