In the wake of the news of Mike D’Antoni’s resignation as head coach of the Lakers, the main reasoning seemed to be that the Lakers refused to pick up his fourth-year option. But things may have gone deeper than that.
According to the NY Daily News’ Mitch Lawrence, D’Antoni realized that he didn’t have the backing of the two longest-tenured Lakers:
Bryant told the Lakers several weeks ago that he didn’t want to play for D’Antoni next season when he returns from a knee injury. D’Antoni also knew of the team’s plans for the re-signing of Gasol this summer when he becomes a free agent. So if he had stayed on, it promised to get ugly quickly and he probably wouldn’t have lasted past Thanksgiving.
There had been rumors floating that Bryant told management he didn’t want to play for D’Antoni, and the disputes between the former coach and Gasol have been well-documented at this point.
D’Antoni supposedly even told an old friend, ‘I know that Kobe and Pau don’t want to play for me.’
It does beg the question as to why D’Antoni decided not to take the Marshall head coaching position if he realized that he wasn’t going to return next year. There was mutual interest between the two sides but ultimately D’Antoni’s brother Dan took the position.
It is also interesting to note that this report fully expects the Lakers to re-sign Gasol. Obviously the team will try to bring him back, but it seemed far from a foregone conclusion that he would return.
Regardless of the reasoning, D’Antoni and the Lakers were able to come to a mutual parting and now the Lakers must make their decision on who will take over from here.
Mike D’Antoni Resigns As Lakers Head Coach – Magic Johnson Says He Couldn’t Be Happier