Mike D'Antoni Has Closed-Door Meeting with GM Mitch Kupchak After Loss to Sixers

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 27:  Mike D'Antoni, Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a call during play against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena on December 27, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)
Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images

Mike D'Antoni could be in trouble.

The Los Angeles Lakers head coach had the type of pow wow that usually means controversy's afoot following a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, per Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding:

Something tells me Mitch Kupchak and Magic Mike weren't exchanging belated Christmas pleasantries.

Closed-door affairs are typically harbingers of doom and dysfunction. Teams that have held such meetings this season include the Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks

Those organizations aren't currently the poster franchises for stability, in case you haven't noticed. All three of them are at least 10 games under .500, outside the baseborn Eastern Conference's playoff bubble and sitting on the panic button.

This situation is different, of course. Only Kupchak and D'Antoni met together, so perhaps the Lakers, who are 13-18 on the season, aren't ready to panic. But that doesn't mean all is well or D'Antoni's job safe.

Los Angeles has lost five straight, the last two of which came against the tanking Utah Jazz and Sixers, who account for two of the league's four worst records.

"I don't know what our problem is, but we were out of sorts a little bit," D'Antoni said after Los Angeles' loss to Philly, via Lakers Nation's Serena Winters. "We have guys battling, but it's just not enough right now."

Words worthy of termination, right? 

Slow down. 

November 15, 2012; El Segundo, CA, USA;    Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak (left) sits next to new head coach Mike D'Antoni during a press conference at the training facility in El Segundo.  Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY S
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Failure to provide answers normally precedes a stay in unemployment, but the Lakers are in a unique situation. They're not healthy, or even close to healthy. Or even in the same area code as healthy.

Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Steve Blake are all recovering from serious injuries, and Pau Gasol missed each of the team's last two games while tending to an upper respiratory infection.

It's not like Chris Kaman has been a bundle of durability, either. Toss in the knee injury Xavier Henry suffered against Philadelphia, and depth is a fictional concept in Los Angeles. 

At full strength, the Lakers shouldn't be losing to Utah or Philadelphia. Though the Lakers aren't contenders, they're not tankers either.

But the Lakers aren't at full strength. Jordan Farmar and Nick Young have been running point. That's how thin they are.

We can't even begin to fathom what Kupchak and D'Antoni were discussing behind that door. Maybe it was about the roster or D'Antoni's job security. Perhaps they were exchanging New Year's Eve hors d'oeuvre recipes. We don't know.

"There's no secret formula or sauce," Coach Mike D'Antoni said, per the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan. "We've got to get some guys healthy and try to stay fairly close and hope Blake comes back and Pau comes back and Kobe comes back and try to do something. The biggest thing is keeping our guys' heads up and going."

Until the Lakers are actually healthy, or they find a coach carrying that mythical "special sauce," calling for D'Antoni's job is utter nonsense.