The Los Angeles Lakers confirmed that Mike D’Antoni has indeed stepped down as coach of the team. D’Antoni finished his last Lakers season with a disastrous 27-55 record. Maybe Kobe Bryant can coach now. That way he can undermine himself and no one else. Whatever direction the team goes in with their coaching search, the team’s troubles won’t end with personnel.
For starters, the team (and new coach) will need to move quickly to decide what to do with the Lakers’ multiple free agents going into the offseason. Time won’t be on the Lakers’ side either because any new hire will have to make up for lost time to snap up the big fish in the free agency market.
And it doesn’t end there. How about the mess of a front office the Lakers still have? Judging by the headlines, you could assume the Los Angeles Clippers have a bigger mess in the front office, but with Donald Sterling gone and multiple deep-pocketed buyers looking to sign up, the Lakers still have the most dysfunctional front office in the city of angels.
The Lakers also have so much money tied up in Bryant’s aging comeback that there’s hardly any room for the front office to get creative. Then again, everyone on the team with the exception of Kobe is likely for sale.
Of course, there’s the whole “Lakers as a destination” sticking point too. Stealing a scene right out of Jerry Maguire, Kobe’s in the office yelling ‘Who’s coming with me?!’ However, he may not find many takers, if any. The Clippers seem like a more viable landing spot for free agents than the Lakers.
Meanwhile on the east coast, the New York Knicks look to be major players in the offseason with Phil Jackson running the show. When it’s all said and done, the Lakers will be much improved with whoever they decide to go with as coach. But the problems won’t be solved with a new hire, the Lakers can’t throw money at the problems either. This is a start to patch things up, but it may not be enough.