The Lakers aren't expected to be contending for an NBA title this season after losing Dwight Howard to the Rockets in free agency. Many Lakers fans blame coach Mike D'Antoni for playing an important role in driving him out of town. Plus, the phantasm of former coach Phil Jackson still hovers above the Staples Center court where he's won five rings during his former time on the bench.
As D'Antoni told the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, it probably will continue to be that way through the foreseeable future.
"I think anybody that comes in here the next 10, 15 years, it's going to be that way," D'Antoni remarked. "I don't think there is any doubt that he was so good and so large and he's still sitting out there. Had that bothered me, I shouldn't have taken the job because you know it's going to be there. I wasn't stupid enough to think that, 'Oh, they won't remember him.' Sure they will. It doesn't really affect what we do day-to-day and how we approach the game."
After getting swept in the the first round of the playoffs by the Spurs this past season, the 62-year-old D'Antoni still has two guaranteed years left on his contract with the Lakers. With Kobe Bryant's torn Achilles tendon and the aging Steve Nash and Pau Gasol representing the backbone of this year's Lakers team, things might not get much better as D'Antoni prepares for the 2013/14 season.
Here's what else is happening around the Association on a quiet Saturday evening, including an update on Jackson's coaching future.
- The Zen Master told Mark Jones of the Williston Herald that he doesn't plan on coaching because "I am still recovering from multiple surgeries."
- In 2005, strength trainer Alan Stein walked up to a 15-year-old Kevin Durant and told him, "Look, man, you have all the tools to be one of the best players in the world, but the only way you can do that is to get stronger," Stein recalled to the Oklahoman's Anthony Slater. “I can help you. Give me a shot.”
- Four-year former Florida Gator Kenny Boynton went undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, but he did catch on with the Lakers' Summer League squad before failing to land a contract. Sportando's Emiliano Charchia reports, via Twitter, that Boynton's deal with Barack Netanya of Israel's BSL is now official.
- On that European note, via a re-tweet from Ridiculous Upside's Keith Schlosser, SecretRival.blogspot.com has compiled a list of former NBA players, picks and recent NCAA players who are in the top 10 European leagues.