UPDATE: While the report below suggest the Lakers won't fire coach Mike D'Antoni, ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard thinks the club has no choice, if they want to keep the team from spiraling downward this season and losing D12 during the offseason. Read his thoughts at the bottom of this post.
- Tom Carpenter
Fans of the Lakers want Phil Jackson back on the bench, but it's not going to happen since the team has no plans to get rid of Mike D'Antoni.
Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register writes: "There's plenty of heat and speculation -- and plenty for Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni to hash out as far as better using his players, including Dwight Howard -- but the Lakers are not considering a buyout or firing of D'Antoni. The Lakers signed D'Antoni to a three-year contract to replace Mike Brown, who was fired Nov. 9."
The Lakers will probably stand pat through the Feb. 21 deadline and then make major changes to the roster in the offseason, especially if they can't come back to grab a playoff spot.
"Regardless of the lineup -- whether Steve Nash has played or not, whether Dwight Howard has played or not, whether Pau Gasol has played or not -- D'Antoni and these Lakers have been a terrible fit. So while it's only been 32 games and while the Lakers still owe D'Antoni nearly $12 million in guaranteed money, it is time for a divorce. The Lakers should fire D'Antoni and let assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff coach the rest of the season. I know it sounds drastic, but it needs to be done. This is simply not working, and you know what? It's not going to work because D'Antoni's perimeter-oriented, point guard-do-it-all, defense-be-damned system does not fit this team. And there are not enough trades out there to be made to make it fit, especially when it's built around a soon-to-be 39-year-old point guard. ... Most believe Jim Buss won't fire D'Antoni soon, not just because of the financial repercussions, but because it would be the admission of a colossal mistake. But it would be an even bigger mistake to let the season continue to spiral out of control and as a result, lose Howard."