Although there's been speculation all season about whether or not his job is safe beyond this year, Mike D'Antoni will return to the Lakers' bench next season, according to GM Mitch Kupchak. Kupchak told Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times that D'Antoni has done a "great job" and that the team hasn't discussed the possibility of replacing him.
"I think under the circumstances, Mike did a great job. We don't anticipate any kind of a change," Kupchak told Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. "No training camp, all the injuries, through the end of the season he's done a great job."
Although D'Antoni started off slow in Los Angeles, he ended up leading the Lakers to a 40-32 record after taking over for Mike Brown early in the season. That .556 winning percentage was good enough to get the team in the playoffs, and was a better mark than any D'Antoni posted in New York with the Knicks.
With two years and $8MM remaining on D'Antoni's contract, and money still owed to Brown as well, bringing in a new coach for next season would be an expensive proposition for a Lakers team that already figures to be spending a ton of money on its roster, which could be well into the luxury tax.
Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who was the preferred candidate of many fans when the team was searching for a coach in the fall, is reportedly interested in returning to the NBA in some capacity. However, as we heard yesterday, it appears highly unlikely that a return will happen with the Lakers.