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Charles Barkley rips Magic Johnson for celebrating Mike D’Antoni resignation

Magic JohnsonWhen Magic Johnson sent a celebratory tweet after Mike D’Antoni announced he is resigning from his position as Los Angeles Lakers head coach on Wednesday, most of us felt the same way. D’Antoni wasn’t exactly put in a position to succeed, so it was kind of cruel for Magic to dance on his grave like that. Charles Barkley alluded to that on “Inside the NBA” Wednesday night.

“Magic Johnson’s bigger than that. Magic Johnson’s bigger than that,” Barkley said, via For the Win. “Listen, Mike D’Antoni is a good coach. They didn’t give him a lot to work with. But Magic Johnson, he’s bigger than that.”

Magic has been unhappy with the state of the Lakers for quite some time now. He has expressed disappointment with Jim Buss, blamed D’Antoni and blamed the players. But it’s not D’Antoni’s fault that Kobe Bryant has suffered two serious injuries that ended back-to-back seasons. Barkley pointed that out while talking to co-host Ernie Johnson.

“The Lakers weren’t going to win with Phil Jackson, either, Ernie,” Barkley added. They don’t have good players. … We know Phil Jackson’s arguably the greatest coach ever. The Lakers don’t have players, Ernie. They’re not a good team. Kobe Bryant is one of the 10 greatest players ever. He’s never going to be what he was. They don’t have good players. I’m not sure if Phil Jackson really wanted that job. The Lakers stink, and they’re going to stink.”

I agree. D’Antoni obviously hasn’t utilized Pau Gasol to the best of his abilities, but you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken s—. Magic didn’t need to kick him while he was down.

Mike D’Antoni resigns as Lakers coach

Mike D'Antoni LakersMike D’Antoni has resigned as coach of the Lakers, the team announced Wednesday.

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:

Nick Young says what he’ll do to Iggy Azalea ‘shouldn’t be legal,’ possibly leaks Mike D’Antoni’s firing

Nick-Young-drunkThe NBA regular season has ended, and the Los Angeles Lakers are not in the playoffs. That means it’s party time for Nick Young. On Wednesday night, TMZ caught up with Young and it appeared as though he had just enjoyed several cocktails. He was heading home with his girlfriend Iggy Azalea, and all indications were that s— was about to get weird.

The interview started out fantastically when Young was asked about people saying Pau Gasol should have addressed the fans before the Lakers’ last home game instead of him.

“I am the star,” Young said. “I’m Swaggy P.”

He then turned the discussion to Azalea.

“You see what I’m going in this car with?” Swaggy P asked. “What I’m gonna do with this shouldn’t be legal.”

And before he got in the car and drove away, TMZ’s reporter was able to ask one more basketball question. He asked Young what he thinks about people calling for Mike D’Antoni’s job.

“Damn man, that’s a shame what happened to D’Antoni,” Young said.

Granted, Young appeared to be completely wasted. He might have just been saying D’Antoni has been put in a bad situation, but he spoke in the past tense and made it sound like D’Antoni is out. Of course, that wouldn’t surprise anyone.

All in all, we give Swaggy P’s interview an enthusiastic A+.

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.

Mike D’Antoni and Marshall reportedly have mutual interest

Mike D'AntoniDon’t be surprised if Mike D’Antoni ends up coaching college basketball at Marshall next season.

While D’Antoni is still under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers through next season, the team’s poor season coupled with Kobe Bryant’s reported desire to have a different coach could mean the end of D’Antoni’s time in LA. If D’Antoni ends up fired, his alma mater would have interest in hiring him. And he reportedly has interest in returning home.

A source told CBS Sports’ Jeff Borzello that there is “mutual interest” between D’Antoni and Marshall. Borzello reports that Marshall has donors who would pay big money to get the longtime NBA coach if he is let go.

D’Antoni is from West Virginia and played at Marshall from 1970-73. The Thundering Herd last made the tournament in 1987.

Would D’Antoni drop down from coaching one of the most glamorous teams in professional sports to coaching a Conference USA basketball program? You have to figure he won’t get a high-profile NBA job in the future, so maybe he’ll feel like a low-pressure situation at Marshall is a good fit for him. I could see it happening.

Kobe Bryant reportedly does not want Mike D’Antoni back

Mike-D'Antoni-Kobe-Bryant-LakersThe Los Angeles Lakers have played their way to 22-42 record this season. Kobe Bryant appears likely to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury and will start fresh for the 2014-2015 season. He is reportedly hoping to do so without Mike D’Antoni.

According to Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, Bryant has “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni and is hoping a new coach will be in LA by the start of next season. D’Antoni has done little to secure his job since he was hired by the Lakers prior to last season. If Kobe and his new two-year, $48 million extension want him gone, that will be all the more reason to fire him.

As we know, D’Antoni and Pau Gasol have had problems working together since day one. Gasol believes D’Antoni does not coach to his strengths. Bryant seems to agree, and he considers Gasol a close friend. He has said in recent weeks that he wants the Lakers to keep Gasol this summer.

With Kobe aging rapidly, the Lakers would be wise to gear up for one final championship run this offseason. They will have plenty of cap space to sign top free agents like Carmelo Anthony, and I’m sure Kobe would love to bring ‘Melo on board. However, Anthony had his problems with D’Antoni when he coached the New York Knicks prior to going to LA.

Bottom line? D’Antoni might as well start packing his bags.

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.