Lakers leaning toward keeping Mike D’Antoni?

Mike D'AntoniAre the Los Angeles Lakers really leaning toward bringing back Mike D’Antoni as head coach next season? It’s hard to believe, but it sounds like that is a possibility.

Mark Medina of the LA Daily News tweeted on Tuesday that the Lakers will decide D’Antoni’s future at the end of the season. He also says he’s been told the Lakers are leaning towards keeping the coach.

This would be a surprise on many levels. Just Monday the rumors were stoked again when Rex Chapman said it was a done deal that John Calipari would be leaving Kentucky to take the Lakers job. There was also a report that Kobe Bryant didn’t want to play for D’Antoni.

On the other hand, the Lakers entered the season knowing it would be a rebuilding year, and the expectations were lowered after Kobe and Steve Nash got hurt. Firing D’Antoni for all that would seem unfair. Plus, would Jim Buss really want to fire the coach he brought in — and hired over Phil Jackson — before giving him a full shot? I don’t know, because he doesn’t like to admit his mistakes.

Rex Chapman clarifies John Calipari to Lakers comment

John CalipariFormer Kentucky star Rex Chapman set the internet on fire Monday night when he tweeted prior to the national championship game that John Calipari will be leaving the Wildcats after the season to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. Calipari is linked to NBA coaching rumors every year, but this is by far the most high-profile job he has been associated with.

Chapman went on “The Dan Patrick Show” on Tuesday to elaborate on his tweet. He did a lot of chuckling.

“I treat Twitter like I’m talking to my friends,” Chapman said. “I’m not a journalist and never pretend to be. I interact with people. I’m not going to refrain from giving information I hear just because it might upset some people.”

Chapman said he did not say Calipari to the Lakers was a “done deal” but instead that he was told it’s a done deal. If there’s a difference between those two things, I don’t understand it. He also went on to say that he heard from one source that Calipari is leaving Kentucky for LA win or lose and from another that the Lakers reached out and “of course Calipari has to listen.”

When Patrick asked Chapman if he believes Calipari is going to leave the Wildcats, he seemed to start backpedaling a bit.

“I believe that John is very savvy when it comes to these things,” Chapman said. “I would hope he’s not going to leave. He deals with this every year. Whether it’s to (get his next deal at Kentucky), I don’t know. There obviously is something to it. Come on.”

The interview had backpedal city written all over it. In one breath Chapman was saying he thinks Calipari will ultimately remain at Kentucky. But after Patrick reminded him several times that his tweet said “done deal,” Chapman confirmed that he heard from two “reliable sources” that Calipari to the Lakers is a done deal. Does that make any sense?

If Chapman’s sources are so reliable, why does he still think Calipari is going to stay at Kentucky? Something doesn’t add up, and my gut tells me that something is Chapman feeling stupid because he sent a tweet he shouldn’t have. The full interview is below:

Drew Gooden, Jordan Hill ejected during Lakers-Wizards fight (Video)

Drew-Gooden-Nick-Young-fightA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards briefly turned ugly on Friday night, and the end result was several technical fouls and two player ejections.

Wizards forward Drew Gooden and Lakers guard Nick Young got tangled up while fighting for a rebound with roughly two minutes remaining in the game, and Gooden yanked Young’s arm and looked like he was trying to tear it off. Gooden lost his balance and fell to the floor, and Young went over to confront him.

Young gave Gooden a mild shove before Wizards big man Marcin Gortat came over to prevent the situation from escalating. Lakers forward Jordan Hill took exception to Gortat’s involvement, so he shoved Gortat and put him in a bear hug.

“(Gooden) ended up falling,” Young explained after the game, via the Washington Post. “I ended up getting my adrenaline going and it was over after that. I felt like that was uncalled for right there.”

Gooden and Hill were both assessed Flagrant 2 fouls and ejected from the game. Young also picked up a technical but wasn’t tossed. The Wizards went on to win 117-107, as a sad Lakers season got even sadder.

Lakers reportedly not planning to fire Mike D’Antoni

Mike D'Antoni LakersThe Los Angeles Lakers may have suffered the worst loss in franchise history on Thursday, but that embarrassing game likely will not be enough to result in the firing of head coach Mike D’Antoni.

ESPN LA’s Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne say the Lakers do not believe an in-season head coaching change will help them over the remaining 19 games of the season. They also say that even though GM Mitch Kupchak met separately with D’Antoni and VP Jim Buss following the game, D’Antoni does not have much to worry about in terms of his job security. They characterized the meeting as pretty typical.

The Lakers are 21-42 on the season and have been competitive in most games despite having a poor roster. Two games before the blowout loss to the Clippers, they beat the Trail Blazers on the road.

The Lakers have remained supportive of D’Antoni since hiring him as head coach a year and a half ago. They probably entered the season with reasonably low expectations and have lowered them even more given all the injuries.

With the status of the franchise — they have aging, injured players and lack stars — it’s hard for the team to expect more wins. They know that, which is probably why D’Antoni’s job is safe for now.

Pau Gasol says Lakers have no discipline, too many individuals

Pau Gasol cryingPau Gasol had some criticism for his club following a 20-point loss at Indiana on Tuesday night.

Gasol scored 13 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in the Lakers’ 118-98 loss to the Pacers, and he was not happy with what he felt was selfish play by his teammates.

“There’s just too many individual actions right now. It’s really not a good flow and rhythm out there,” Gasol said via ESPN LA’s Dave McMenamin. “We got to be unselfish. If we see a teammate open, we have to make sure that guy gets the ball. Otherwise, it’s really deflating.”

According to McMenamin, Gasol also said there was no discipline being administered by the team, which McMenamin viewed as a shot at coach Mike D’Antoni.

Not only did Gasol criticize his teammates for not sharing the ball, but the LA Daily News’ Mark Medina also says Gasol was critical of D’Antoni for going with a small lineup after Wesley Johnson got into foul trouble. He also criticized their lack of rebounds.

Gasol is quite obviously frustrated playing on this bad Lakers team. The squad is 19-38 and pretty much playing for draft position. Gasol went on a postgame rant last month and has now done the same this month because of his frustrations. Don’t worry, Pau, everyone feels the same way as you.

Lakers literally ran out of players against the Cavaliers

Lakers empty bench

The Los Angeles Lakers literally ran out of players in their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, yet they still won 119-108.

As mentioned in our post about Chris Kaman taking a nap on the bench, the Lakers started off the game with just eight players because of injuries and/or rest days. Nick Young got hurt in the second quarter, Jordan Farmar got hurt in the fourth quarter, and Chris Kaman fouled out. That left the Lakers with just five players.

Things got really interesting for Robert Sacre, who was playing with five fouls. And wouldn’t you know? He picked up his sixth foul with under four minutes left in the game. That resulted in an extremely confusing situation because they Lakers didn’t have any healthy players who could replace him.

The referees went to the rule book for Rule 3 section 1 b which explains what happens in this exact situation:

a. Each team shall consist of five players. No team may be reduced to less than five players. If a player in the game receives his sixth personal foul and all substitutes have already been disqualified, said player shall remain in the game and shall be charged with a personal and team foul. A technical foul also shall be assessed against his team. All subsequent personal fouls, including offensive fouls, shall be treated similarly. All players who have six or more personal fouls and remain in the game shall be treated similarly.

The Lakers were charged with a personal and team foul and were assessed a technical foul. Things were so bad that Steve Nash, who is returning from his back injury and had the night off, got into uniform and joined the bench with a minute left just in case. Luckily the team didn’t need him, but it just shows how crazy things got at the end.

Magic Johnson rips Lakers, Mike D’Antoni

magic-johnsonMagic Johnson appeared on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno on Tuesday, and he shared some of his usual thoughts on the current state of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are 16-30 and are well on their way to missing the playoffs. In fact, they have the second worst record in the Western Conference.

Leno asked Johnson why it is so bad in LA right now. His answer will not surprise you.

“We made a critical mistake in not bringing Phil Jackson back,” Johnson said. “That was a critical mistake. He wanted to come back, then they went with (Mike) D’Antoni.

“(D’Antoni) doesn’t teach defense. I can’t stand to watch the Lakers play because the same play happens every single time — pick and roll and the guard goes all the way in for a layup. We’re 40-something games into the season. The teams run the same play on us. We haven’t stopped it yet.”

Last year, Magic went on an epic Twitter rant and ripped the Lakers players for the team’s struggles. This year, he is placing the burden on the coaching staff and front office. Earlier this month, Johnson said owner Jim Buss is LA’s biggest problem. He reiterated that when speaking with Leno.

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