I wouldn’t classify this as a big secret, but in retrospect the Lakers made a mistake when they brought in Mike D’Antoni. They should have either let Mike Brown ride out the season or brought back Phil Jackson. Any other alternatives were going to cause tension if the Lakers didn’t win immediately.
I don’t think D’Antoni did a bad job, considering all the injuries the Lakers had, but you just got the sense all the players weren’t on board with his system and style of coaching.
ESPN is reporting that Dwight Howard was the main star not happy with D’Antoni.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, part of the discussion between Howard and Kupchak centered around Howard’s frustration with D’Antoni — particularly how the center felt marginalized as the coach looked to Bryant and Steve Nash for leadership and suggestions and discounted Howard’s voice.
D’Antoni chose not to retain assistant coach Chuck Person, a Howard confidant, on his staff for next season.
“We had to just sell out to whatever he wanted, whether we liked it or not,” Howard said of D’Antoni following his exit interview. “We had to do what was going to benefit the team, and being one of the leaders on the team, I had to make sure I kept the guys in line to what the coach wanted us to do.”
These are similar comments that Howard made about Stan Van Gundy before he got him fired and left Orlando. It doesn’t appear the Lakers are going to get rid of D’Antoni, so it will be interested to see if this affects Howard’s free agent decision.
Just like most things in life, this comes down to money. Does Howard want to leave $30 million on the table to run from the responsibility of being the next great center in LA? Only time will tell.