From Elizabeth Benson, Lakers Nation: In Lakers Nation’s latest edition of our roundtable, we thought it would be only suiting to tackle the subject that every Laker fan is talking about, which of course surrounds the future of Dwight Howard. While we can only wait for free agency to officially kickoff, which is on July 1, the rumor mill regarding Dwight’s future is only just starting to heat up. So, where do some of Lakers Nation writers think Dwight Howard will sign this off-season? Let’s find out.
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Who do you want to believe? Monday came a report from the very reliable Dave McMenamin at ESPNLosAngeles.com that in his exit interview Dwight Howard expressed frustration with coach Mike D’Antoni to GM Mitch Kupchak. Which isn’t hard to believe if you watched the Lakers at all this year. But when Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register called Kupchak he denied they even discussed that (via Sulia). “Kupchak said he didn’t want any D’Antoni talk from Dwight anyway given Mitch’s insistence that Lakers won’t have any player dictate the coaching situation. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t let it go there anyway,” he said…. “I’m not saying they don’t have differences like with any coach or any player. I don’t think it’s anything that goes beyond.”
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni will not return to Team USA as an assistant for Mike Krzyzewski, at least according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Krzyzewski is expected to be officially announced as the U.S. Olympic coach Thursday, but D’Antoni turned down an offer to return as an assistant because “he didn’t want to make another four-year commitment because of his family.” D’Antoni has worked with Team USA since 2006, helping the squad win two gold medals. Additionally, Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford has received permission to talk with the Phoenix Suns about their head coaching vacancy, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
From Arash Markazi, ESPN LA: When Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak called Phil Jackson to tell him the Lakers were hiring Mike D’Antoni instead of him as coach, he responded the only way he knew how. “I laughed,” Jackson told ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show Wednesday. “It was humorous to me when Mitch said that we think that Mike is a better coach for this group of guys.”Jackson had been prepared to tell Kupchak whether he was interested in returning to the Lakers’ bench the next day, but the GM called Jackson late that Sunday night, Nov. 11, to tell him the Lakers had decided to go in another direction. Jackson said he thinks the Lakers made the decision largely based on catering to Steve Nash, their 39-year-old point guard who was limited to 50 games this season as he battled a variety of injuries.
From Ben R, Silver Screen & Roll: It’s that time again. The time when we try to maintain hope in the Lakersmanaging the draft process well despite not reaping any concrete rewards from it for years. Of the Lakers’ recent draftees, only Darius Morris holds any potential of sticking on the roster past next season and that’s only if he takes the next step in his development. Year after year, the Lakers have sacrificed their first rounders for established players such as Steve Nashand Ramon Sessions or just engaged in plain old cost cutting that has come back to bite them in the rear in the long-term. One would say that there’s no time like the present to correct this misuse of one of the fundamental resources for talent in the league, but the team only possesses their own second rounder and a late one at that at number 48 to restock the incredibly shallow farm of young talent they currently have.