The Phoenix Suns were in town and handed the Lakers much more to ponder beyond another surprisingly rare and easy victory. The Suns couldn't control Chris Kaman, lost Sunday's game by a 115-99 score and offered the perfect time to explore some big-picture questions involving their past employees. What will the Lakers do with Coach Mike D'Antoni? What will happen with Steve Nash, who won two NBA most-valuable-player awards in Phoenix under D'Antoni? And what of Kendall Marshall, a first-round bust of the Suns who found plenty of playing time with the Lakers? The answers in quick succession as of now — undetermined, staying and staying. The Lakers have a dilemma with D'Antoni, who coached the Suns for five successful seasons. They still owe him $4million next season and don't want to look like a franchise with a coaching turnstile. But Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol don't support his small-ball offense and Lakers fans don't support him, period. So the team will decide fairly quickly after the April 16 regular-season finale — pay him to not coach the team, just like Mike Brown, or try to make it work next season. General Manager Mitch Kupchak said last week he thought D'Antoni was “doing a great job under the circumstances,” but how great would obviously be revealed in coming weeks. Nash sat out another game, which is no longer surprising for a player who appeared in only 12 this season. For financial reasons, the Lakers currently plan to keep him next season, The Times has learned, eating the remainder of his contract ($9.7 million) in one swoop instead of waiving him and spreading the money out over three years. It would give them more money to spend in the summers of 2015 and 2016, when they figure to be active players in the free-agent market amid such possible names as Kevin Love, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. So the Lakers will take the 40-year-old Nash into next season and hope he can play more than a handful of games.
Lakers beat Suns, 115-99, but what's ahead is the real story
Los Angeles Times | Mar 31