It was no secret that Kobe Bryant didn’t much care for the coaching stylings of the recently-resigned Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. The former Nuggets, Suns and Knicks coach was brought in by the Buss family, or most of it at least, over Phil Jackson after Mike Brown was fired early in the 2012-13 season, and the two never seemed to click in spite of D’Antoni allowing Bryant unending minutes and shots during that disappointing year.
Following a 2013-14 campaign that was beset by injury, and after the Lakers declined to pick up D’Antoni’s 2015-16 option, the coach walked away from his gig. Bryant was on holiday at the time, but he’s back in Los Angeles now, and the future Hall of Famer decided to take a trip to Jimmy Kimmel’s set on Thursday evening to clarify his views on D’Antoni’s resignation.
Or, “non-views.” From ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:
“Honestly, I didn’t care,” Bryant said Thursday during a guest appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” when asked whether he was happy D’Antoni accepted a buyout of close to $2 million instead of coming back to coach the team next season.
“Mike was dealt a really bad hand in dealing with all the injuries that he had here,” Bryant said. “This is a tough place, man. If you’re not winning, you’re not going to survive, man.”
The Lakers will now have three coaches in three years. Why would Bryant care? The front office hasn’t asked for Bryant’s opinion on the prior head coaching options, but he has made it clear that he should be consulted on the next choice.
The next two seasons are probably his last rodeos. It would behoove everyone to cooperate with each other in these dark times at the Staples Center. The list of star candidates is short because no one knows what the future of the franchise will be: the roster only has three players under contract for the 2014-15 season, Bryant’s on-court performance is an unknown, and the Western Conference is brutal every year. Few guys will seriously consider this job because the Lakers could be on a losing skid that lasts for years.
Whatever happens, the soap opera will provide plenty of intrigue for fans and media types alike. – AL