D’Antoni had one year left on his contract and was set to earn $4 million. He recently was pushing the team for an answer on whether they would pick up his team option for 2015-2016 so he’d have an idea about his future, and the team appeared unwilling to pick up his option.
The team balking at picking up his option, combined with many other factors — such as the team being in bad shape, not getting along with Pau Gasol, and Kobe Bryant reportedly not wanting him back — all likely contributed to D’Antoni’s decision to resign.
The Lakers hired D’Antoni in 2012 as a replacement for Mike Brown, who struggled greatly at the start of last season. The Lakers went 40-32 under D’Antoni that season, but they fell to 27-55 this season.
“Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons,” GM Mitch Kupchak said via Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.
It’s hard to blame Mike D. for this season’s disaster. The Lakers lost Kobe, Pau and Steve Nash to injuries, among others, and traded Steve Blake.
The Lakers are rebuilding, and they’ll be rebuilding with a new coach. I probably wouldn’t want the job now; I’d want the job after the next coach is fired.
I will say, though, that this tweet from Magic Johnson was pretty surprising:
Happy days are here again! Mike D'Antoni resigns as the Lakers coach. I couldn't be happier!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 1, 2014