Lakers' Mike D'Antoni steps down


Mike D'Antoni has resigned as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, the team announced Wednesday night.

D'Antoni's resignation ends the brief tenure of the Lakers' third coach in less than three years. He took over from interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff early in the 2012-13 season and finishes 67-87 with the team. Mike Brown lasted just 71 games after replacing 11-time NBA champion Phil Jackson before the 2011-12 season.

The Lakers and D'Antoni have been discussing his future with the team since the season ended, multiple sources told's Ramona Shelburne. Last week he asked them to pick up the team option on the final year of his contract to empower him to coach without constant speculation about his job status.

But, sources said, when the Lakers said they were unwilling to do that, the team and his representatives began working out a solution that was amenable to everyone. The Lakers and D'Antoni agreed on a settlement that will pay him more than half of the $4 million he was owed for next season, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The settlement also includes a provision in which the Lakers would recoup some of the money if D'Antoni lands another job this year, another source said.

"Given the circumstances, I don't know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons," general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. "On behalf of the Lakers, we thank Mike for the work ethic, professionalism and positive attitude that he brought to the team every day. We wish him the best of luck."

D'Antoni's agent, Warren LeGarie, told that his client and the Lakers "hit an insurmountable impasse" and that "Mike will no longer be the Laker coach."

The Lakers will begin a coaching search, but a source tells that their immediate focus is on the NBA draft, where they will have at least a top-nine pick, and free agency, where they have enough salary-cap flexibility to sign a maximum-contract level free agent.

The Lakers have just three players under contract for next season, including Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant -- with Bryant making more than $48 million over the next two years.

Lakers great Magic Johnson, who was sharply critical of D'Antoni's coaching style, hailed the news on his Twitter account.

D'Antoni has also coached the Nuggets, Suns and Knicks. He reached two Western Conference finals with Nash in Phoenix before having much less success in New York.

"Whenever a coach isn't there anymore, for whatever reason, all of us in the fraternity feel badly,'' San Antonio's Gregg Popovich said after the Spurs' playoff victory Wednesday over Dallas. "He is a heck of a coach and heck of a guy. You always feel badly when something like that happens. I just hope that what he wants is going to be what happens for him. He is a special guy.''

D'Antoni's departure will allow the Lakers' franchise overhaul to begin in earnest after their worst season since 1957-58 in Minneapolis. Los Angeles missed the postseason for just the second time in the 17-season career of Bryant, who occasionally clashed with D'Antoni.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...