Coaches on the Move, What Will Become of Mike D’Antoni

Darius Soriano —  April 21, 2014

The playoffs are underway and that means it is a great time to be a basketball fan. No, our Lakers aren’t in the second season but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy good basketball being played. I tried to catch as much hoops as I could over the weekend and I was pretty impressed with what I saw from everyone on the court (save the Pacers and the referees).

The start of the second season doesn’t just bring the on court stylings of the worlds best players, however. It also brings off court moves from the teams who were not good enough to qualify for extended seasons. In other words, coaching changes are afoot across the league with three head men leaving their posts today.

In Minnesota, Rick Adelman stepped down from his position, retiring after a fine career that saw him reach high levels of success at nearly every spot. As coach of the Blazers he reached two NBA Finals and was a major thorn in the side of the Lakers in the late 80’s and early 90’s. A decade later he helped turn around a terrible Kings franchise and turned them into real title contenders, pushing the Shaq/Kobe Lakers as hard as anyone in the playoffs in the process. He then moved onto Houston where he coached Yao, McGrady, and our old friend Ron Artest to results severely impacted by injuries to his stars.

His latest run with the Wolves was unspectacular in many ways — he failed to reach the post season a single time — but that should not diminish what he accomplished in previous stops. Adelman was a great coach who just so happened to have his best teams at the same times when the Showtime Lakers, Bad Boy Pistons, Jordan Bulls, and Shaq/Kobe Lakers were also at their best. Sometimes bad timing trumps ability.

While Adelman stepped away under his own power, the other two vacancies were not choices made by the coaches. In New York and Utah respectively, Mike Woodson and Ty Corbin both received their walking papers after poor seasons.

Woodson, only a year removed from a 50 win season saw a major regression from his Knicks this season. Poor defense, an offensive strategy that diverted from what worked last season, and injuries derailed his team’s season. And while the latter can’t be blamed on him, the former two certainly can be. Add in Phil Jackson coming in as the top basketball decision maker and it was only a matter of time before Woodson was shown the door in favor of a coach that fits what he wants to do (i.e. run the Triangle).

As for the Jazz, they let go of Corbin after 3 seasons of “rebuilding” that has not produced any tangible results. After trading Deron Williams, the Jazz have been one of the worst teams in the league, drafting in the lottery each season but not developing that talent into the types of high end contributors that change a team’s fortunes from cellar dweller to playoff team. Some of that must be placed at the feet of Corbin, a coach who hasn’t deployed rotations in a way that seem to make sense often enough while also not being creative enough on both sides of the ball schematically to support those decisions. Soon it will be someone else’s turn to try and optimize that talent and grow it in a way that returns the Jazz to the days they saw under Jerry Sloan. That is a tall task, of course, and following in a legend coach’s footsteps is never easy. Maybe the next coach will have enough distance from those days to escape that shadow.

As for the Lakers, there is no news on Mike D’Antoni’s status and there likely won’t be any coming soon. Coming out of the team’s exit interviews last week, the only definitive statements made from either Mitch Kupchak or D’Antoni was that no decision would happen quickly and that the coach is under contract for at least one more season (the Lakers have a team option for the coach’s 4th season). Purposely vague, those statements shed zero light on the situation and don’t even give a hint as to what the organization is thinking.

I, for one, am okay with this for now. Unlike what occurred with Jazz, for example, the Lakers haven’t had a slew of high picks go underdeveloped or underused. And unlike in NY, the Lakers have been brutalized by injuries to the point that it’s difficult seeing how coaching to a different style would have made a huge difference in their win/loss record (though, to be fair, the Knicks have also dealt with injuries — just not to the level the Lakers have).

So, we wait. The front office is preaching patience and I think that has as much to do with them asking for fans understanding that there is a rebuild (or a drastic retooling) upon us, but also because they will simply take their time to make a decision. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even though it’s a perfectly reasonable argument that the team should know what it has in this coach at this point. Yes, the injuries matter and so do a slew of other factors, but they understand his philosophy and tendencies by now. Weighing those things against each other is worth exploring, but it should not take forever. I would imagine that at some point in the next two to three weeks we will know for sure what’s what.

In the meantime, watch some playoff hoops. The games are good, even if they do serve as a daily reminder that the Lakers need to get much better.

Darius Soriano

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92 responses to Coaches on the Move, What Will Become of Mike D’Antoni

  1. I agree that it does not make sense to change coaches until Jimmy decides how to build the next championship team. The roster make up this season did not make any sense with all the money invested in bigs. Next season there is no reason not to build a team from the ground up given that Kobe is the featured player. The situation is different in NY, Phil knows what he wants and who it would take to make it work. It is not clear what the Lakers FO wants from its coach or team at this point.

  2. Im not so sure if PJ knows what he wants in NY yet if his 1st move is to reach to Lamar Odom i love the guy but his best days are behind him on the other side the Knicks situation is worse than ours cap wise with the added hurdle of not having any draft picks this year. I do believe that MDA should get the chance to coach a healthy team but with a short leash. The team obviously is movin to the faster younger athletic route. We will know more after the draft.

  3. Been a long time since I posted…can finally talk about coaching changes hahaha….

    Seriously, at the end of the day D’Antoni needs to be fired. What if a coach that the Lakers wants becomes available but we still have MDA under contract? Do we quickly fire him and then court the new prospective coach? MDA has gotten a raw deal….he came in thinking he was going to coach 4 Hall of Famers at full strength and was looked at as the person who could get the most out of Nash. Well considering Howard wasn’t healthy yet maybe 3 1/2 future Hall of Famers. He has had to deal with a lot of injuries so we really don’t know how great he would have been.

    At the end of the day unless the Lakers are in a full rebuild mode next year, MDA has to go…He isn’t a championship coach he doesn’t preach defense although I have seen a little bit more lip service given to defense this year. But he has an annoying tendency not to play PF’s and Centers …even if they are the best players on the team (see Gasol last year, Kaman and Hill this year)….almost to the point where players like Kaman has almost said he isn’t coming back….D’Antoni wants to play small ball but it really doesn’t help if you aren’t gaining a significant advantage in the long run….

    My top choice of available coaching options is George Karl (3 conference finals appearances with 3 different teams: Seattle, Milwaukee, Denver) or Stan Van Gundy). We need someone who preaches defense but still has an offensive system or proficient with that side of the ball (not a Mike Brown / Woodson type).

  4. “What will become of Mike D’Antoni?” : We all aleady know the answer to that question. The only unknown is when (feels good to write this).
    Timing: The Lakers need to decide soon if they are going with another year of the three ring circus, because the worst thing to do is wait, ponder things, while what few candidates are avaiable, get snapped up by others, and then we choose from the leftovers. Either fire him soon or keep him – do not fire him in July.
    Phil: When you have 13 rings – you are above it all. You say what you want to. You say it smugly, and you enjoy the fact that it annoys others. And he does.
    Knicks: They are one of the very few teams who are in a worse position than us, however they now took a decisive step towards recovery. Will we?
    Playoffs: Please root against the Spurs: You will regret it if you do not.

  5. We dont need old fossils like George “Mr 1st round exit” Karl or Calipary who didnt cut it as a coach in the pros or Sloan. Either we stay in house (Byron Scott) or get somebody like Lionel Hollins or a wild card like Kevin Ollie who took Calipary to school on that championship game and has a pro style of coaching. The thing is that if the Lakers call coaches will come, thats a given.

  6. I think the coaching situation will develop once we see which free agents we can get and which ones we can keep. Both Swaggy and Meeks have earned larger paychecks. Meeks has been asked to improve his handles to share some point and to be a better all around player. I can see us being able to keep him because Kobe will be slower and thus be more of a three than a two and Meeks could start next to him. If we can keep him for $3 to $4 Million I believe he stays. Nick Young is the ideal sixth man. I don’t think he played himself out of our salary realm. He proved to be “who we thought he was”, a streaky gunner. His salary will be in the $5 Million (mid-level) range. Will Farmar take another one year deal? Hopefully. Marshall, Kobe, Nash, Sacre and Kelly are either signed or will be retained with or without MikeD at the helm.

    If we can get a Lou Deng then by all means get him. I don’t care if it’s for $10M/year for 3 years. That would mean Wesley could be offered another one year deal to prove himself (think Ebanks). Then there’s the draft. Hopefully we get Exum. That would eliminate the need to keep Xavier and Bazemore. Brooks is gone unless we want him for end of the bench.

    If MikeD stays then say bye to Hill and Kaman and possibly Pau. That would be a crying shame. Let’s pray for a stronger, defensive minded coach ala Thibs or Hollins or a better offensive coach like George Karl who knows how to work with what he has.

  7. The timing will certainly depend on whether the next big free agent mentions it. If Kevin Love hints that he doesn’t want to play for D’Antoni? B-Bye.

    But other than that (Pau agreeing to 3 mil /year on the condition that D’Antoni leaves?) I would think D’Antoni’s job is safe mostly because the Lakers will not see how a coach would make a difference in an otherwise decimated team. At least keeping him ‘saves’ them money.

  8. Hard to tell because of injuries? Come on son, MDA caused those injuries. Playing Kobe 45 + minutes a game at point guard!! Running old folks up and down the court!! Fool, what were you thinking? Blow out of Dodge and quick, mofo!!!

  9. Did the Lakers steal the Warriors uniforms tonight?

  10. The Lakers have never been about saving money, rather than fielding a better team. The new CBA makes spending money beyond a certain point prohibitively expensive and, with the restrictions on scaled openings, spending unlimited money actually costs in ability to sign additional personnel. The owners have forced some level of economy on themselves – and taken some of the monies from the players previous share of the revenue pie to pay for it. Read the CBA, or examine Larry Coon’s writings on the subject, then come back and discuss a club’s ability to spend money.

  11. Hanging onto Pau and/or Hill would be a great step toward fielding a decent team next year, and either of those possibilities requires that Dantoni leaves.
    They can’t replace every big on the roster, can they?
    And if they do, what’s the point?
    Dantoni will just burn more bridges with the new PFs and Centers.

    If he was fired the day after the season ended, it looks a bit cheap and as though they were just letting him play out the string.
    It makes sense to weigh their options as long as it ends with Dantoni gone.
    They may be canvassing possible replacements first too.
    It would be awkward to fire him and then be fumbling for a new coach.
    I favor Kevin Ollie. He’d bring a fresh look to the team.
    I’m not high on B Scott. Yes he’s part of the Laker family, but he doesn’t come across as too bright to me; I could be wrong.

  12. At this point the front office should KNOW if they are keeping or firing D’Antoni. If the Lakers keep their current coach another year, they are obviously saying “we’re not going to be good next season, so why make a change now”. I’m under the impression a front office would like to have their head coach in place BEFORE they make their 1st round draft pick.

    At least that’s what a professional well run front office would do…but that’s another story for another day. :-(.

  13. People bring George Karl and his 3 WCF appereances, i bring Scott with his 2 FINALS appereances in a lot less time. Karl is a good regular season coach that is famous for his team collapsing in the playoffs. Either Scott or Hollings no old fossils please. I like Ollie too but i dont know if he could coach a player like Bryant.

  14. “…watch some playoff hoops. The games are good…”

    That’s an understatement. Between LAC/GS Game 1, POR/HOU Game 1, and last night’s OKC/MEM game, there have been tons of thrilling moments in only 3 days of play. Super exciting to watch as a non-partial fan.

    “What if a coach that the Lakers wants becomes available but we still have MDA under contract? Do we quickly fire him and then court the new prospective coach?”

    …Yes. If a coach we’re interested in is to become available in the future, how would firing MDA now make sense? You have the fill the void reasonably quickly. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to fire MDA until the exact moment a coach the Lakers are interested is on the market. Otherwise it’s change just to make change and we’re going to keep spinning our wheels. I think it’ll be easier to hire a coach after the offseason moves are made – we’ll have an idea of if we’re set up for a Dallas-like season or a complete rebuild again – but that’s not always how NBA teams work. New coaches like to have personnel input.

  15. BigCitySid is correct in that the FO should know by now whether D’Antoni is their man or not. These past 2 seasons have given them ample enough time to gauge his coaching schematics – offensively and more importantly, IMO, defensively – and to observe the type of relationships that he forges with his players. Granted, the team has been decimated by injuries during his tenure, which, in effect, could alter the way in which a coach implements his game plan. However, with D’Antoni, there’s years of concrete evidence that proves that he will not deviate from his coaching philosophy – at all – and, to his detriment, how he alienates players. All of this is not to say that management needs to let us, the fans, know at this very moment whether he will be retained or not, but, as BCS stated, they should know by now.

  16. “they should know by now”

    They should have known a year ago.

  17. They probably made their decision already, and they will make an announcement when it suits them and feel like it. And if they havent made a decision, the playoffs just started, so the season is not even over so whats the freaking rush????

  18. Fern- I’m with you: Absent some way of getting Tibbs, B Scott or Hollins. No need to rush through the announcement. The season is not yet over. Would not surprise me if the announcement came around finals time, perhaps a day or two after the finals are done. Of course, certain folks here will find fault with the timing no matter what happens, but so be it. I’m more concerned about the Lakers resigning Pau or not trading picks for K Love (I think we can get him without a pick if we are patient).

  19. I don’t think MDA is a bad coach. I don’t think the injury plagued seasons have been good measures of his capability. I think he can do very well if you give him a roster that is fitted to running his system. That said I don’t think Kobe fits particularly well in MDA’s system. Considering how much the Lakers invested in Kobe I don’t know if MDA is the right coach for a team still featuring Kobe.

    The guy I’ve been advocating for is George Karl. He is a guy who has been to the Finals with a talented roster. With less then stellar talent he consistently gets to the play offs and was recently coach of the year acknowledging his success. He is the opposite of MDA in that he builds schemes to what talent he has unlike MDA who has a scheme and forces his players to play to that system regardless of their talents. So I think he would get the most out of Kobe while being able to seek out the most talented players available rather then trying to fit the needs of MDA’s system.

  20. Off topic: Former Laker Derek Fisher (242 games) will become the NBA’s All-Time Leader in post-season games played during the current Thunder – Grizz series. He will overtake another former Laker, Robert Horry (244), who’s the current record holder.

    It’s only natural a player w/ longtime connections w/ the Lakers should hold this position. Actual long time Lakers hold the top five (5) spots on this list. 3rd: Kareem (237), 4th: Kobe (220), & 5th: Shaq (216).

  21. There is a key date that few people have mentioned — July 1. That is the date that Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill and others become Free Agents. By that time, a decision should have been made on D’Antoni’s tenure with the team because D’Antoni’s presence will greatly influence the Lakers’ ability to bid on these players.

    If the Lakers want to retain D’Antoni, then so be it. They should be decisive and say so in the very near future. Of course, if they keep D’Antoni as the head coach, then Gasol and Hill (not to mention Chris Kaman) will all be gone. They will not return.

    If the Lakers decide to release D’Antoni, then they should do so with enough time to find a strong replacement and have that person, the new head coach, meet directly with Pau and Jordan Hill and communicate his desire (if there is a desire) to use them on next year’s team. He should also talk to them about his philosophy of basketball, how he intends to use them, and how he will approach such matters as team defense. This should all be done in June (when these prospective FAs are still members of the team). July 1, then, is a much more important date, IMO, than June 26th, the day of the NBA draft.

    A good time frame, if D’Antoni is released, would be as follows:

    Late April — release MDA;
    Mid-Late May — hire a new head coach;
    June — have the new head coach meet with key prospective FAs such as Gasol, Hill, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Meeks, and possibly Xavier Henry (not to mention Kobe Bryant) and begin forging a relationship with those players;
    June 15-26 — have the new head coach confer with M. Kupchak regarding the best player to draft;
    July — have the new head coach meet with other FAs such as Kyle Lowry and / or Luol Deng.

    As I see it, then, the Lakers Front Office has little time to lose.

  22. Thats what you want Mid- Wildshire, not necesarily what the FO wants or will do. I believe i trust Mitch and the FO’s timelines a little more. All this damn desperation and triying to rush the FO to make hasty decisions is asininine. They will do whatever they going to do when they want it and how they wanted. If they fire MDA fine, if they dont thats their decision and i dont know if they will when the time comes. Is just useless triying to put a timetable to things we dont have a clue about. As far as we know they are going to chop MDA’s head and even have an execution date, we just dont know. The season aint even over yet. Thats what we want, having the FO made rushed decisions bc a handful of fans are too desperate to let things play out.

  23. @Robert

    If MIA is my most hated team alive in the playoffs, why wouldn’t I root for the Spurs (Lakers/Spurs rivalries and Kobe/Duncan legacy comparisons aside)? OKC/LAC have no shot at MIA while SAS does. MEM could give MIA trouble because of their bigs, but I don’t see them getting past the WC giants.

  24. @ Fern…it’s not asinine to rush the LAL Front Office if Mid-Wilshire’s suggestion/timeline is indicative of a good plan to make the Lakers a real player in free agency…which it IS.

    And the season IS over…for the Lakers, clearly.

  25. Fern, the Lakers season has been over. Their off season is now. Looking forward to next season started months ago. Teams are already cutting coaches loose. Woodson and Corbin are out. Mark Jackson could be done early by next week. Meanwhile the Lakers are “taking their time” on a guy who just finished with the worst single season record in Laker history. As Sid noted above, they should know by now if they want to keep D’Antoni. If they do, then come out and say it now.

    Waiting only invites more criticism, rumors, and speculation. It’s already bad enough that several of the players on the roster (including the two best players) have made it plain they don’t want to play for him.

  26. As a laker fan 3 teams I hope do not win it all. Clippers, rockets, Miami. Dont really care if spurs win or not since no one really compares Kobe to Duncan. In fact, I rather see spurs win it all over okc too since only way Lakers will gave shot at KD in 2 years is if he’s still ringless.

  27. Mid-Wilshire – I am probably wrong, but I think teams cannot start talking to free agents until July 1st. I do not know what that means for the Lakers and Pau now that Pau has had his exit interview, but I suspect it means that the Lakers have to be hands off until July 1st.

    Having said that, I like your timeline. However, I think the team may delay any discussion of a coach until after the Finals are over (around mid June). I think this makes sense as you could potentially have some folks coaching now (head or assistants) that will not be available for discussions until he season ends. So it may be premature to try and hire a head coach before the season finishes.

  28. Folks – curious if anyone has any thoughts on Steve Kerr as a potential coaching target. He says he is looking for opportunities to stay in the West Coast and he lives in San Diego. I like him as an analyst, and he won two chips with Pop and three with Phil. He also has some FO experience, which could help him to understand the issues our FO is presently dealing with and could help him “bond” with the FO (or influence them). Unfortunately, I do not know anything else about him so I have no idea what he is like as a coach or motivator. Would welcome any thoughts.

  29. Manny,
    Pau is technically under contract until July 1st, so the Lakers can talk to him as much as they want if I understand the rules correctly.

  30. Manny,

    It’s the other teams in the league (other than the Lakers) who can’t talk to Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill (and the other Lakers FAs). The Lakers can talk to them directly because they’re employees of the organization until July 1. After that point, everything goes through their agents and the Lakers will have lost a lot of leverage.

    Re: waiting until after the finals are over, that would be a posibility IF they are targeting some of the assistant coaches on those teams. But if the Lakers have other individuals in mind, then I think it would be to their advantage to move quickly as some teams have already begun to do.

  31. IMO,
    The Lakers are not likely to decide on MDA before all their potential coaching candidates are eliminated from the playoffs. It makes absolutely no sense to let MDA go until they have at least gauged the interest of their other candidates. The only way they move much quicker is if George Karl or Lionel Hollins are the leading candidates and they are close to a deal.

    I suspect a week of heavy consultation is all that would be necessary to communicate things to Pau or Hill and they are the key players who cannot easily be replaced this summer. Meeks and Young can be approached, regardless who will be the coach, so why include them in any analysis?

  32. SMH…I dont see any teams playing small ball in these playoffs…the teams that are doing well have low post threats and dominant bigs….MDA wants to play small and fast..but post season it wont fly!!
    Enter Lionel Hollins…the Lakers when healthy with the addition of another elite 4 and a strong point should have good success..slow and steady wins the race over the course of an 82 game season!!

  33. Anaom

    Don’t tell GS and Miami your theory.

  34. Ko,

    Miami has a freak at PF name Lebron. They’re not a good example of a small ball team…

  35. If Mark Jackson becomes available, the Lakers would be foolish not to give him a long, hard look. MD’A should go. He has the stench of losing and desperation. I have serious doubts about his ability to incorporate input from his assistants and use their skills. He had the current coach of Charlotte, Steve Clifford on his staff last year and yet the Lakers foundered on defense for most of last season. Clifford has earned a rep as a defensive-minded coach this year. The Lakers could have used some of that.

    Further, MD’A’s reluctance to play through the post bespeaks a stubbornness that is both unseemly and unprofessional. Good coaches make the most of their available players by playing to their strengths.

  36. Anon is right. Last year’s final four was Indiana, San Antonio, Memphis, and Miami. One team had LeBron James. The others had Hibbert/ West, Duncan/ Splitter, and Randolph/ Gasol. Size still matters in this game.

  37. Manny,

    All the indicators are that if Kerr coaches, it will be in New York. He is supposedly tight with Phil and shares many of Phil’s philosophies, and Kerr has said that he expects to talk to Phil.


    As to the timetable, it is pretty hard to argue with “The FO is going to do what it wants when it wants so who are you to even talk about it” but at this point, I am more let-it-unfold while being skeptical mode rather the saying what I think the FO should do. YMMV on that. But I do agree with two points being made here:

    1. The Lakers’ season is over. The Lakers may be thinking about a gut attached to a playoff team, like Fizdale, I suppose.
    2. D’Antoni will be 63 years old in May, has coached 881 NBA games and nearly two full years with the Lakers. The fact that the Lakers won 27 doesn’t make him an idiot than winning 60 in Phoenix makes him a genius, but I think it is pretty clear what he brings to the table and what his plusses and minuses are at this point. While there is a lot that we can’t see, I do think there is a case to be made that the FO should know whether MDA is their guy–right now.

  38. Darius-Mid: Thanks for clarifying.

  39. rr – Yeah, I think you are right on Kerr.

    Along those lines, the more I think about where we are on our rebuilding plan, the more I think that our best option may be a rookie coach with potential, who is willing to take a chance on get axed after two years if he does not manage to win the hearts and minds of the Laker faithful. Since everyone’s favorite candidate, Bryan Shaw, is not available, perhaps there are other assistant coaches worth looking at. A few guys come to mind, such as:

    Ron Adams (now with Celtics, but he worked with Thibbs prior to that and is supposed to be a defensive guru and well respected by his players- although he maybe too long in the tooth to be a head coach),

    David Joerger (again, another “defensive” specialist who is allegedly very hungry for a coaching gig – plus he could be helpful in luring a certain Spanish center back into the team that once held his draft rights)

    and David Fizdale (word is he is very good communicator, motivator and is apparently very good at relating to the players, including the big 3 and their big egos – the latter could prove very useful in dealing with Kobe, Pau (if he returns) and any free agents that we land this season or next).

    I know that folks would prefer a known “impact” coach at this moment, but given the realities of where we are not (a lottery team) and what moves we can make this off season and next, it may make sense to take this type of risk that, although unprecedented for the franchise, could have a huge upside.

    Curious what you and others would add to this.

  40. MDA’s future is tied with what the FO intends to do with the team. By this I mean that if the FO is going to push to make the playoffs next year and try and retain Pau/Hill then MDA will not be the coach. However, if the Lakers acknowledge that it will take longer to get back into the playoff hunt then MDA might return.

    I am not a fan of MDA’s approach but in reality it makes no sense to bring in a new coach if the FO decides to wait until next summer to pursue FAs. As heartless as it sounds its best (in my opinion) to let MDA absorb all the losses and bring in a new coach next year when the team is in a better position to make a move up in the standings.

  41. If the Lakers let MDA go then they will be paying two coaches not to coach the team. I believe they still owe a portion of MB’s contract in addition to what is owed MDA. I can’t see the FO doing that. While the Lakers can be incredibly generous with player contracts they tend to be very frugal in other areas.

  42. Terri – I agree to a point. If the Lakers were considering bringing in a BScott or a GKarl then I would wait until the talent level were improved before making those hires. However, if the team went after a Steve Kerr who is young enough and smart enough (he is a former FO executive) to be part of and contribute to a rebuild then I’d be for such a move.

    I honestly think Fred Hoiberg is another up and coming coach I’d bring in now. Hoiberg has NBA FO experience as well. I guess you could say that while I trust our FO I see room to bring in additional player personnel smarts as a benefit.

  43. Ron: I like the Hoiberg idea.

  44. rr is correct. If Kerr coaches it will be in New York. Too bad – had we been smart enough Kerr should have been on our short list when we ultimately brought in MDA.

    I understand that this criticism of the Lakers is a bit harsh. However, our last two coaching hires have been such bad fits and created such poor team chemistry. It just seems that our FO didn’t fully comprehend what they were getting with either MB and MDA. They were simply poor choices from the very beginning of their respective tenure’s.

  45. Read – or heard – recently that Fred Hoiberg and Tom Izzo are being heavily considered by the Timberwolves.

  46. Ok again, whats the rush if like people commented above, there is not moves to be had untill July 1st? Thete is no need to rush the FO about any coaching change, if anything, Lakers season is over, not the NBA season, for now im in a holding pattern and the FO will make its moves when it decides to do so good or bad we will see after the season is over and we know whats the deal is FA/draft wise. NO RUSH….

  47. Everyone seems to take it for granted that MDA was a bad hire. Not so fast there. First, there is the horrendous number and timing of injuries – simply unprecedented. Then people have to realize the FO wanted to change the pace the team plays at – agree or not, that was the objective. MDA was the best hire for this objective because he also would develop marginal players so that we could expand our reserves while paying a few players a large amount of money.

    For these reasons I felt – and still feel – MDA was a good choice to coach the Lakers. The injuries simply decimated our team over two years and reserves had to become starters. Well, inexperienced players who didn’t work out elsewhere may become good reserves, but certainly lack a lot when asked to play starters minutes against other starters. We have developed a number of players into what I consider good reserves and Meeks could even become a starter.

    What has also become evident, however, is that MDA doesn’t have the flexibility to handle multiple bigs. This shortcoming is – IMO – fatal on a club like the Lakers. Hence we have to move on. But that doesn’t alter the fact that the MDA hire was valid at that time. Hindsight reasoning is for those who have no responsibility to get things done or to manage a going concern.

    P.S. Blaming Dwight entirely on MDA doesn’t account for the direction the FO wanted to go, nor does it take into account Dwight’s basic personality and comfort level of the spotlight that is the Lakers.

  48. Good fourth quarter game in toronto. Drake and Wiggins sitting nxt to raps bench – TO is pulling this one out.

    Re. Kerr – don’t overvalue his so called -FO experience. The only reason he got the job was because the Coangleo’s quit because Sarver (Suns owner) was too cheap to make the moves to put them over the top and Kerr was a friend of Sarver. Instead of fighting for his team he became sarvers lackey and was really good at trading away draft picks and players like Kurt Thomas – who was excellent on Phoenix – for cash. On top of that he wasted a year of Nash/Soutdemires prime by hiring Terry porter and insisting he knew what was right for the team even though it was averaging 55+ wins. By the time he finally fired Porter and Gentry took over, it was too late to make the playoffs.

    Sure he’s not too bad on NBA radio and reasonably insiteful doing colour commentary but i wouldn’t trust him to run a team w a strong headed guy like Kobe or develop players. but if he has no problems kowtowing to PJ’s exact orders in the NY then fine. If kerr goes there, it’ll basically be PJ coaching via proxy

  49. Extremely slanted/biased narrative re. Kerr. Jerke left off that Kerr admitted he had gone the wrong way, reversed course, and PHX was back in the WCF by 2010. You can criticize the initial moves, but admitting you made mistakes and adapting–not easy to do. And, it is not like the Suns collapsed–they were 28-23 under Porter and had they really surged under Gentry, might have made the playoffs. But they were only 18-13 under Gentry.

    As to the “proxy” thing:

    a. You have no way of knowing that.
    b. I don’t think arguing that a guy would coach like Phil Jackson wanted him to is exactly a gotcha-type criticism.

  50. Steve Kerr overrating coaching credentials gauge is going thru the roof, wait, it broke.

  51. @ brent when Mike took the Cavs job his Lakers contract ended.

  52. thats the thing – he didn’t adapt on his own – Nash went and complained openly to Kerr and he was facing an open player revolt and that was what finally forced his hand. Kerr hired Terry Porter because he disagreed w MDA on the offense (he wanted it more shaq centred after trading Shawn Marion) and he wanted more defense. Porter effectively neutered the team to satisfy Kerr wanting Shaq to be more featured and didn’t do anything to improve the defense.
    Its not merely the fact that he quashed a good thing, he was also a financial hatchet man for Sarver – who was bleeding red ink because of the recession and was using the bball team to subsidize his business.

    as for the assertion that the suns could’ve made it if they made a push – they did winning 12 of 16 down the stretch – but after having to live in an offense meant to feature shaq in the half court, you just can’t flip a switch and go back to playing the ssol with him still anchored in your front court. The West was extremely competeive that year w only the Lakers above 54 wins and everyone else in a dog fight. Suns won out but didnt get the help they needed and Memphis slipped in.

    I don’t think its an unfair assumption that PJ has particular plans for how he wants the team to play and wants his coach 100% on board with that. Based of Kerr’s FO tenure he hasn’t been a particularly strong personality or willing to push back against his superior for the better of the team- ergo I think its fair to say PJ wants the same msg from him straight thru. And given Kerr’s complete lack of coaching experience and famialairty w Phil, it’s not a huge leap to think the PJ will be influencing how the team is coached.

    As for accusing me of having a extremely slanted/biased narrative – you’re singling me out for that on this forum? lol

  53. Craigs last point is valid – IMO in addition to the MDA stuff, I don’t think Dwight wanted any part of being called out by Kobe or dealing with that intensity day in day out. Except for Nash, everyone else has sorta borne his wrath. I’m not sure sometimes if Dwight cares more about winning seriously or having fun

  54. Jane: Now that the Lakers are out, who we root for in these playoffs is simply personal preference. IMO the Celtics are the most hated team and the Spurs are right behind them. We have no rivalry with Miami. I campaigned against the Spurs last year. At first – nobody jumped on the bandwagon, but as the Spurs won and ESPN started setting up the Spurs as being a co-dominant team of the century along with us, people started to root against them. The Pop and Duncan worship got sickening as the playoffs went on last year. I hate the Spurs. I understand if you hate the Heat (I do not like them), however, it is useless. LBJ is the modern MJ and that is that. He will be revered no matter what happens. Also – I like Riley, which does not make me like the Heat, but I do not want to see Pop with another ring or Duncan with another. To each their own : ) Things would be so much easier if we were winning.

  55. Craig W: “Hindsight reasoning ” It was not hindsight reasoning in all of our cases. For me, I would say it was more of a case of immediate reasoning which has been unwavering.
    Jerke: “slanted/biased narrative – you’re singling me out for that on this forum?” No – he is not singling you out. He says I do that frequently as well. And he is correct. It is not a bad thing. When you are slanted, everyone knows where you stand. For example, I love Phil, Kobe, Riley, Jerry, and Jerry. I despise MD, Jim, Del Harris, and the Spurs. When rr says you are slanted he means you are consistent : )

  56. @robert lol love it.

    poor kirk hinrich – misses possible game tying freethrow in OT. Wiz up 2-0

  57. As for accusing me of having a extremely slanted/biased narrative – you’re singling me out for that on this forum? lol

    You are not alone in that, certainly. Most of us do it at times, me included. But when it comes to PHX-related stuff, you are kind of unique around here. And if you going to bag on Kerr, then I think you should present the entire picture, rather than just the stuff that makes Kerr look as bad (and D’Antoni/Gentry as good) as possible.

    As to the Phil thing, sure. Phil is going to influence whoever the next NY coach is, in large part because Phil will be hiring the guy. IMO the keys for Phil will be whether he can:

    a) Get FAs to come to NY.
    b) Find guys who can do the day-to-day personnel stuff, incorporating analytics, and trust them.

  58. As to the D’Antoni hire, that is mostly old ground. Two things were clear at the time, one negative, one positive:

    1. The team obviously lacked the speed and the shooters to play 7SOL. That was clear before D’Antoni had coached a game.
    2, Hiring MDA made sense on the level of connecting Nash and Howard, using the PnR, helping Howard have “fun”, etc.

    I backed the hire based on #2, not knowing that Howard apparently approached the FO and said he wanted Phil, and thought D’Antoni could adapt to #1.

    As far as whether he was a bad hire, his job in my view in 2013 was to win enough and get along with Howard well enough such that MDA would be a plus in Howard’s mind in terms of wanting to stay. Howard obviously left for many reasons, but it seems apparent that MDA was not a plus in Howard’s mind.

    As to this past year, I have avoided a lot of heavy-duty MDA criticism that we have seen emerge over the last two months. I am much more about who is on the roster than who the coach is, but I have not really seen much from D’Antoni that has made me think, “The Lakers really need to keep this guy.”

  59. Re Wolves:

    Fred Hoiberg’s ISU contract, as per Wikipedia:

    In April 2013, Hoiberg signed a 10-year contract extension with Iowa State worth $20 million. Hoiberg’s contract has a $2 million buyout clause if he leaves for another college coaching position, but the buyout is only $500,000 if he leaves to become an NBA head coach or general manager.

    Also, Hoiberg supposedly just a got a raise to 2.6M/per.

  60. Robert – As a Showtime fan who grew up on those ’80s teams, I loved Riles. But when he said after 2006 that the Heat title was his most memorable, he was dead to me.

  61. A college coach with no pro experience is not going to work for Kobe Bryant, unless that person is Coach K. PERIOD!!! The Lakers need an established coach with a system that will work with the personnel they have. The problem with a faster point guard was evidenced when the Lakers (namely Pau and Kobe) railed against Ramon Sessions not running the triangle properly. That would have worked if we kept RS with Howard and had Wesley Johnson or Uncle Earl, but it does not work with just Kobe and Pau.

    The slow down, big man game is working in these playoffs, the exception being Toronto. Blake has a great game, the Clips win. LaBrawn has a good game, Heat wins, Houston has Howard, Portland has Aldridge, and the Pacers have Scola, West and George. Washington has Nene and Memphis has the Black and Blues Brothers. Pau and a decent PF with Kaman and Hill as back-ups can work with Kobe, Exum, and Deng. If we have the right coach (read Hollins, Thibs, or Karl). B Scott reportedly does not put the extra time in as a coach. The others I mentioned eat, breath and dream basketball. That is the type of coach Kobe will require for his final years.

  62. Got to admit, the more this discussion goes on the better Hollins and Karl look – with Karl as my favorite. The big things about George Karl are that he is adaptive and has experience and – IMO – that will be a requirement of any Laker coach over the next three years. We will probably have noticeably different teams in each of the next three years and will need a coach who can successfully put all those different pieces together each year.

  63. Craig
    Granted Karl has experience but IMO the Lakers are looking to get younger on the court and on the bench as well. ‘Retreads’ is an unsightly word but unfortunately Karl fits that description. My sense is that his history reflects regular season excellence and mostly playoff disappointment.
    Then again if the objective is to please Kobe and Pau the team may opt to go in the direction of a ‘proven’ coach after all.

  64. @Robert

    I see your point and would generally agree regarding the Spurs/rivalry, but I give credence to AusPhil’s comment. Riles is also dead to me after what he said about the Heat title. What kind of Laker legend is THAT, especially after you attained championships with SHOWTIME?!

    I am in TOTAL denial about LBJ and reading your text that he is the modern MJ made me nauseous. It’s not rational and I don’t need to be told that…I just have so much disdain for the guy.

  65. Reports that if the Pacers lose this series Bird is likely to fire Vogel. He’d be somebody I’d want to target – a young guy who can grow with the team but also has an impressive resume in a short period of time.

  66. I listen to ESPN 710 often and when speaking of the Lakers John Ireland and Ramona Shelburne mention that the FO is very confident about the future. Ireland indicates that its “almost as if they know something no one else does.”

    Do any of you know what this secret might be? Or, are the Lakers Brass just pumping sunshine?

  67. Parrothead Phil April 23, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Robert and Jane
    I mostly agree with Jane re: Heat and LeBron. Everything about that team from the “announcement”, to the fireworks laden introduction prior to accomplishing anything, to DWade’s general punk a$$ lack of character leaves me with a visceral hate of that team. I do not want them ever to win anything again.
    While the Spurs with Duncan and Pop have been the closest success wise to the Lakers since 2000, they have never generated any strong feelings in me. I can respect what they have accomplished without really feeling that further success for them in any way threatens the Laker/Kobe legacy.
    This playoff season the teams I am rooting for in order are:
    West- GSW, MEM, POR, OKC (DFish)
    East- anyone but MIA. Problem is the East is terrible besides MIA
    Finals- Western Conference
    My absolute nightmare would be for the Clippers (not likely) and Miami (very likely) to face off in the Finals. I wouldn’t be able to stand seeing either of those teams win it all.

  68. @Leo…of course…my crystal ball is telling me Mitch has had several secret conversations with the 76ers…something about a sign and trade and cash.. a pick…positioning….yup…i see it.

  69. Parrothead Phil April 23, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Back to the subject of this post/ thread: coaching change
    D’Antoni must go. The announcement does not need to come in any big hurry, just prior to or during the Finals will be fine.
    As to whom the Lakers should target, I like the idea of a young (but well respected/regarded) coach.

  70. Parrothead: You nail it on the Heat. Wade is such a punk! Can’t bear the thought of a Clippers/Heat final . . . . not too worried though.

  71. Hollins hands down…two years with this guy..after what he did for the Grizzlies..are you kidding me…Baby Gasol gets a DPOTY im not crazy but if your defensive schemes suck you lose your players mentally…i bet Xavier Henry can replicate Tony Allen given the proper motivation…Wes Johnson the same..Hollins can get this team going..and still have Kobe and Paus respect..Hollins hands down!!

  72. Coach Wish List Ratings (scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most desirable):

    Thibs – 10
    Coach K – 9.5
    Lionel Hollins – 7
    Frank Vogel – 7
    Steve Kerr – 7
    George Karl – 6
    Byron Scott – 4
    Jerry Sloan – 4
    Kurt Rambis – 4
    Kevin Ollie – 4
    Rick Adelman – 5.5
    Steve Clifford – 6
    Mike Woodson – 3
    Terry Porter – 3.5
    Randy Phund – 2
    D’Antoni – 1

  73. Jane/PPhil/AusPhil: It’s all good. I guess to put my view in perspective, there were years that I hated the Blazers and the Kings. However if I could go back in time and give one of the Celtic/Spurs titles to them, I would : )
    Coach: I would be fine with Hollins which seems to be this group’s consensous pick. Don’t worry Fern – Scott is sill my first choice : )
    Leo: “Lakers Brass just pumping sunshine?” I call this Laker Manifest Destiny. We have won because we have always won. There is something to it in that we have our titles, we have our legends, we have the Pacific Ocean, and the celebrities. That gives us some advantage, but we need to add something to that. Not sure that we are and I am not sure that list alone is enough. Warren Buffet likes to “buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.” Perhaps the Laker FO feels that the Laker brand is that type of stock.

  74. Craig W.> “…But that doesn’t alter the fact that the MDA hire was valid at that time. Hindsight reasoning is for those who have no responsibility to get things done or to manage a going concern.”

    I respect your opinion, but don’t agree. I remember the day D’Antoni was hired, I wrote on a Yahoo board that he looked like a bad fit for the team, and it could be a disaster. I’m no expert. I didn’t lose hope. I wasn’t sure how he’d adapt to the personnel. He did adapt some, but Howard, Pau, Hill, and then Kaman have all been dissatisfied, Kobe and Pau have not benefited from a faster pace, but instead battled injuries, and the team doesn’t appear to care enough about defense. It still looks like a bad fit, and the disaster has happened. Successfully changing the pace the team plays at takes more than just a change of coach. The Lakers can continue to try to build a D’Antoni team, and possibly find some success, but I don’t think it’ll ever make sense to me what the Lakers have been doing these past two seasons.

  75. On hoopshype been reported that MDA had fully turned down Marshalls offer of the head coaching gig to remain as laker coach. Did anyone else notice during the exit interviews that both mitch and mda referred to him being under contract for 2 more years?

  76. I did not make note of the two year comment, however I did notice that Mitch was dragging a ball and chain behind him as he left the interview.
    jerke: In a warped way we agree. No need to rush into firing the guy unless you have a plan. If you don’t have a plan, then keep him.

  77. jerke,
    His contract is for two more years, but the 2nd year is at the club’s discretion.

  78. Yeah I know the club option, just thought it was weird that both mentioned that he was under contract for 2 more years while sitting next to each other. Usually if a guy is on his way out, the gm says nice platitudes and distances himself from the coach, not shares the podium with him.

    –kupchak on Mike D’Antoni’s future. “He’s under contract for two more years. If that changes, if there’s anything to share with you, we will.” D’Antoni has one guaranteed season worth $4 million followed by a team option for the 2015-16 season.

    – I’m with you Robert. I understand getting rid of MDA if there is a solid plan or they have a new brand direction they’re going to go. But change merely for the sake of change when this coming year is a rebuild year and likely to have a roster in Flux doesn’t make sense.

  79. Fire Dantoni and offer thibs a godfather offer of like 10 mil a year …. chicago is too cheap to match and it would send a message back to the league that we are serious about competing …. MDA is a chump and will lead to a futher drop in ratings if he is still with the team next year

  80. @Shaun

    Couldn’t agree with you more!!!

    @LT Mitchell

    Vinny Del Negro 2
    Del Harris 1.5

    When the Clippers hired Vinny over Dwayne Casey I said they were making a big mistake. He knows personnel, was a good prospect, and wasn’t what I considered Vinny (a used car salesman ala Mike Brown). Now look at the guy. He has a ragtag team that plays it’s heart out for him. I wouldn’t mind this guy as coach as long as he brought Kyle Lowry along with him. With Lowry, I would trade Nash to Toronto or just flat out waive the guy. Lowry, Farmar and Marshall and the point would be done. Even if we drafted Exum, he could be a Kobe-like combo. Remember Kobe was considered a point-guard combo when we got him.

  81. Note for the Lance Stephenson fans here:

    “The Indiana Pacers’ Frank Vogel is “coaching for his job” and a strong playoff showing is essential despite a 56-win season that earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, sources said.

    Team sources confirmed a Yahoo Sports report that the Pacers’ Lance Stephenson and Evan Turner fought during practice before Game 1 of their playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, and sources said Stephenson and guard George Hill had to be separated on the bench during a 26-point home loss to the San Antonio Spurs on March 31.”

  82. Did anyone else notice during the exit interviews that both mitch and mda referred to him being under contract for 2 more years?


    Yeah, and I remember Nellie mentioning over and over he had a contract for 1 or 2 more years before Mark Jackson came on board. Nellie finished out his contract sitting on the beach in Maui.

    Speaking of Mark Jackson, let’s not be so hopeful the Lakers hire him if the Warriors dump him, as they well may. He has some issues and I suspect he is no prize.

  83. LT Mitchell,

    I like your ranking of the various coaching candidates. I think the most likely options would be Lionel Hollins (who, I’ve stated before, has a great resume) and Frank Vogel (if the Pacers flame out). Something tells me that Thibs would stay put. But he’d be a great acquisition.

    The truth is, coaching does matter. (See San Antonio.)

  84. Parrothead Phil April 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    +1 LTMitchell “Randy Pfund 2, D’Antoni 1” classic.
    I have a hard time embracing Thibs as a candidate to coach the Lakers. I think of him as THE Celtic who was instrumental in 2008. I guess if bringing Thibs in worked out as well as bringing in Bill Sharman worked out, then I’d eventually be OK with it.
    Although I’m leaning towards bringing a younger coach, I like the idea of Lionel Hollins. I thought Memphis firing him was a big mistake.

  85. Parrothead Phil April 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Sorry for the double post…
    I want Mark Jackson to keep coaching in the NBA so that I never have to hear “hands down, man down” during a broadcast again. Just please do not bring him to the Lakers.

  86. Its going to be so funny when the Lakers announce they are keeping MDA, i can hear the sound of heads exploding on this board already lol.

  87. Wonder who Dwight will blame this on?


  88. Ko — Who knows? Regardless, I love seeing his team lose. The play near the end where Dwight & Co. all fell asleep and let Matthews beat them down the floor was the highlight of my night.

    Lillard is a stud, and Aldridge is something else, too.

  89. rr: Great news on Lance! Buy low! Lakers have a great tradition of getting the most out of the wild sons of New York! A Jerry Buss move all the way . . . .

  90. Get rid of MDA to keep Pau? Sign me up!

  91. D12 is the best center in the league and has been for awhile. The problem is he is the Larry Holmes of the NBA. He is not a dominant force. He is not close to being one of the best of all-time just the best at this time. Some say the same about Tyson, but we can save that for another day. Back to D12. This was the dilemma when we got him. We say that he cannot be the go to guy. But if you did not acquiesce to his desires, he moped. He was not a typical Laker center and this may be Houston’s plight. Even though playoff basketball dictates slowing the ball down and posting, how can you do that if your center can’t hit a free throw.

    Last point if he is this freak of nature defensive stopper, why wasn’t he placed on Aldridge??!!??

  92. As a fan who watches at least 80 games a year, buys tons of lakers gear, and attends as many games as possible…..

    PLEASE get rid of Antoni ( D omitted intentionally).