Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak won’t discuss the coach’s future, Kobe Bryant reportedly has “no interest” in playing for him, and the franchise just finished with its worst record since moving to L.A. in 1960-61. If these signs are any indication, Mike D’Antoni won’t be back to coach the Lakers in 2014-15.
Although his seat is hotter than ever, MDA can’t take all of the blame. The fanbase raked him over the coals all season long, but the Lakers suffered a plethora of crippling injuries that put D’Antoni in an unenviable position. He never had a chance to succeed from the outset after Dwight Howard left for the Houston Rockets last summer, and while he may be under contract through next year, the chances he'll return seem remote at best.
During the 2013-14 regular season, Lakerland finished 28th in defensive rating by surrendering 107.9 points per 100 possessions. Only the Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz were worse on defense than the Lakers, according to ESPN.
The offense—though superior to the woeful defense—wasn’t much better. The Lakers finished 21st with an offensive rating of 101.9, per ESPN.
The lone bright spots were L.A.’s improved role players and bench.
Guys like Jodie Meeks, Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry, Kendall Marshall and Kent Bazemore showed promise under D’Antoni, but their improvements—and an endorsement from Farmar—likely won’t save the coach’s job.
So if Kupchak and Co. eventually decide to cut ties with the incumbent coach—a very real possibility—who should be on the short list of candidates to replace him?