From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: The off-season has arrived for the Los Angeles Lakers and the evaluation of their coaching situation has begun. Mike D’Antoni wants help with the Lakers defense and has requested to add either Nate McMillan or Alvin Gentry in a defensive assistant role, according to a report from CBS Sports’ Ken Berger. McMillan is likely to land a head coaching position and has already begun interviewing for vacant positions. When D’Antoni was hired there were initial reports indicating D’Antoni wanted to add McMillan to his staff, but the Lakers did not sign him as part of their already robust coaching staff.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: There’s unanimity within the Lakers. Kobe Bryant and General Manager Mitch Kupchak both want Dwight Howardto return. There’s also a problem within the Lakers: Howard isn’t so sure. He declined to reveal which way he was leaning after his one-year run with the Lakers. “I’m going to take my time, get away from the game, my phones and everything and just clear my head,” Howard said Tuesday in an end-of-season interview at the team’s practice facility. “I’ll do what’s going to be best for myself, what’s going to make me happy. I can’t control who likes me, who dislikes me, but I have the right to be happy.”
From Brett Pollakoff, Pro Basketball Talk: The Lakers finally got some good news on the injury front three days after their season ended, when it was announced on Wednesday that Dwight Howard would not require surgery on his right shoulder. Howard was diagnosed with a torn labrum after originally suffering the injury on Jan. 4, and missed a total of six games (in two separate three-game stretches) because of it. Despite returning earlier than expected from back surgery last summer, those were the only six games Howard missed all season. He was looking much more like his former Defensive Player of the Year self over the last couple of months of the season, and the pain he was dealing with in the shoulder seemed to taper off over time, or, at the very least, Howard showed no visible signs that it was an issue.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: Pau Gasol left his exit meeting with general manager Mitch Kupchak on Tuesday with an increased sense that he may have played his last game with the Lakers. “The future is uncertain,” Gasol said. “There’s no doubt about it. It’s a possibility that I could be gone and there’s a possibility that I could stay. I don’t know the exact percentages of it. But I’m prepared for either way. “I understand the challenges that the franchise is facing, the decisions that they have to make in order to keep the team in the direction that they want to — looking at the present and the future and also understanding the business side of it. So, it’s a lot going on. I wish things were a little simpler, but they’re not. So we’ll see.”
From Sam Amick, USA Today: When it comes to pro athletes who have serious sway within their respective organization, Kobe Bryant might stand alone. Yet the Los Angeles Lakers star tested the limits of his influence Tuesday in a postmortem media session, imploring his bosses to do the unthinkable this offseason: keep this underachieving team together despite a price tag that, because of the NBA’s more punitive luxury tax that is about to kick in for the first time, could approach $200 million. Never mind that the 34-year-old Bryant isn’t even sure when he’ll be able to return from the season-ending Achilles tendon tear that took him out of the Lakers’ four-game sweep by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Bryant still sees a starting five that includes himself and a re-signed Dwight Howard with forward Pau Gasol, point guard Steve Nash and small forward Metta World Peace as championship-caliber and worth the incredible cost. It wasn’t a very good band this season, but he wants to keep it together.