As if we weren’t already aware of this, sources are indicating that Mike D’Antoni knew his two star players, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, had no desire to play for him. A few months ago, Bryant allegedly stated he had ‘no plans’ of playing for the former head coach next season and Gasol has demonstrated to the media numerous times the stylistic differences he has had with D’Antoni.
Really, it should come as no surprise that D’Antoni eventually came to the realization that he was not the man for the job, thus resigning earlier this week. Signs were pointing to the return of D’Antoni next season, but with management refusing to guarantee the fourth year team option, the situation became a bit rocky. Despite the differences, nobody expected D’Antoni to resign without any type of warning signs.
It does appear though, that the decision was not solely about the non-guaranteed fourth year of the contract, but also the lack of backing from his players. This is not the first time D’Antoni has had rifts with his players as both Carmelo Anthony and Jordan Hill were both known to have feuds while he was coaching the New York Knicks.
Additionally, in his second season as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, several players expressed their displeasure with playing time, coaching style, and even leadership. These players include: Dwight Howard, Hill (again), Chris Kaman, Gasol and Bryant. At this point it’s no coincidence that such a substantial amount have players have had such issues with on coach. I wouldn’t expect D’Antoni to receive any head coaching job offers again.