After the Los Angeles Lakers rallied to beat the Houston Rockets 99-95 in overtime to clinch the seventh seed in the Western Conference playoffs, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak confirmed that head coach Mike D'Antoni will return next season. "I think under the circumstances, Mike did a great job. We don't anticipate any kind of a change," Kupchak told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "No training camp, all the injuries, through the end of the season he's done a great job." D'Antoni took the job under rather remarkable circumstances this November. The Lakers fired Mike Brown just five games into the season, then interviewed three coaches in a 48-hour period before choosing D'Antoni, who was still recovering from knee replacement surgery. One of those other coaches was, of course, former Lakers coach Phil Jackson. And the specter of the 11-time NBA champion coach, and the road not taken, has hung over the Laker franchise all season. D'Antoni went just 12-20 in out of the gates as the Lakers struggled to learn his uptempo system, and without point guards Steve Nash and Steve Blake, who were out long stretches with injuries. The low point came Jan. 23 in Memphis, when D'Antoni called a team meeting that turned into an emotional, air-it-out session with players and coaches venting their frustrations at how the season had gone. The Lakers lost that game to fall to 17-25 on the season but rallied to go 28-12 the rest of the way, including a 5-0 mark to close out the season and vault past Houston into the No. 7 seed. "He doesn't get enough credit, and understandably so," Kupchak said. "We struggled through two-thirds of the season and expectations were so high. The Lakers didn't help things by making the coaching change and putting Mike in that situation, which he was glad to take. But I think it was a little bit tougher than he thought it would be."
D'Antoni will remain Lakers coach next season, GM says
ESPN Los Angeles | Apr 18