News

D’Antoni leaves Lakers after two troubled seasons

D’Antoni leaves Lakers after two troubled seasons

LEAVING THE LAKERS: Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni reacts in the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center. Photo: Reuters/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

By Jahmal Corner

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Mike D’Antoni has resigned as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, ending an unhappy two-season tenure with the struggling NBA franchise.

The 62-year-old still had a year to run on his $12 million three-year contract but the team announced on Tuesday that he had decided to step down.

D’Antoni joined the Lakers in November, 2012 after Mike Brown was fired following just 71 games in charge. Under D’Antoni’s guidance, the Lakers compiled a 67-87 record.

“Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement.

“On behalf of the Lakers, we thank Mike for the work ethic, professionalism and positive attitude that he brought to the team every day. We wish him the best of luck.”

The Lakers limped into the playoffs in D’Antoni’s first year in charge but finished the 2013-14 season with a dismal 27-55 record, the worst 82-game return in team history.

There had been growing speculation about his position with the fading team and his departure was greeted warmly by one of his more outspoken and high-profile critics.

“Happy days are here again. Mike D’Antoni resigns as Lakers coach. I couldn’t be happier,” Lakers great Magic Johnson tweeted.

RISING SUNS

D’Antoni had previously worked as head coach of the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks, compiling a career record of 455-426.

He was named NBA coach of the year for the 2004-05 season after leading the Suns to the Western Conference finals. He led Phoenix to the same stage the following year and was appointed the Western Conference coach for the 2007 All-Star Game.

A proponent of the fast-break and up-tempo offense, D’Antoni’s style never really worked with a Lakers roster that was plagued by injuries to key players.

Kobe Bryant managed just six games this season while Steve Nash, who also served under D’Antoni at Phoenix, played just 15 times. He also lost the services of Dwight Howard after just one season when the player left to join Houston.

D’Antoni is the fourth head coach to leave the Lakers in the past three years with the winners of 16 National Basketball Association titles, second only the Boston Celtics, falling on hard times since the departure of Phil Jackson in 2011.

In his statement, Kupchak said the search for a replacement would begin immediately, although no timetable had been established.

There was no immediate comment from D’Antoni about his departure but his agent told ESPN that his client and the Lakers had “hit an insurmountable impasse.”

(Editing by Julian Linden/John O’Brien)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

World Series Game 4 in the City by the Bay

Fresh
FILE - At left, in an Oct. 15, 2014, file photo, San Francisco Giants' Ryan Vogelsong throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during the first inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series in San Francisco. At right, in a July 8, 2014, file photo, Kansas City Royals' Jason Vargas pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla. Vargas faces Vogelsong in Game 4 of baseball's World Series Saturday night, Oct. 25, 2014, in San Francisco.

It's Ryan Vogelsong on the mound for the Giants against Jason Vargas for the Royals.

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

beatles

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable moments.

in Sports

Mariota throws 5 TD’s, No. 6 Oregon beats Cal

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is shown warming up for an NCAA college football game against UCLA in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.

Marcus Mariota broke the Oregon record for career passing yards in the No. 6 Ducks' 59-41 victory over California on Friday night.

in Sports

Royals beat Giants 3-2 for 2-1 World Series lead

Kansas City Royals coach Ned Yost speaks during a press conference before Game 1 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo.

Herrera, Brandon Finnegan, Wade Davis and Greg Holland combined for four innings of hitless relief, the longest in a Series game in 22 years.

in Sports

Ted Bishop resigns as PGA president

FILE - PGA of America President Ted Bishop speaks next to the Presidents Cup trophy at a news conference at City Hall in San Francisco, in this July 2, 2014 file photo. The PGA of America president referred to Ian Poulter as a little girl on two social media accounts Thursday evening Oct. 23, 2014 for his comments on Nick Faldo and Tom Watson as Ryder Cup captains.

Ted Bishop has been removed as president of the PGA of America over a sexist tweet directed at Ian Poulter.

Bellingham Traffic