With a 22-42 record and little hope of further improvement, Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni is merely coaching out the string this year in Los Angeles—and likely won’t be back next season. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported on Wednesday morning that he had heard D’Antoni would be out, and that the Lakers’ potential pursuit of free-agent Carmelo Anthony would be the reason. But multiple sources told Sporting News that the reason for D’Antoni’s potential dismissal is closer to home—star guard Kobe Bryant. Bryant, sources said, has “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni next season, and wants a new coach in place for the ’14-’15 season. At the same time, the Lakers officially announced on Wednesday what had been rumored for a few weeks now: That Bryant, struggling to recover from a knee injury suffered six games into his comeback from last year’s Achilles injury, would not be back this season. Bryant had originally been slated to return sometime in February, and had said several times throughout the year that he intended to play again. But as the Lakers have sunk in the standings, Bryant’s return date has gotten increasingly murky. Now that date has been pushed back to next season.
Kobe Bryant wants new Lakers coach next year
Sporting News | Mar 13