Mike D’Antoni the embattled head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers had wanted the option on his contract to be picked up for the 2015-16 season.
On Wednesday, D’Antoni resigned as the team refused to pick up his option ending a two-year tumultuous run with the Lakers and bringing to an end one of the franchise’s worst seasons.
The coach had one more year of a guaranteed $4 million contract but was upset when management declined to pick up the option for 2015-16 for $4 million more.
Veterans Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant disliked D’Antoni’s small ball approach, which led to disharmony inside the locker room during a season when the Lakers won just 27 of their 82 games, setting a franchise record for futility.
One person close to the situation said the search for a head coach would be wide open by they do not expect a head coach to be hired before the draft lottery on May 20.
Even though the prospects are dim for next season for the Lakers, making the coaching job a less attractive one than at other times, they could pursue a big-name, high-salaried NBA coach. On the other hand, they could go for an assistant in the NBA who is low salaried with a shorter contract.
The lottery for the draft could be the difference in management going one way or the other. If the Lakers could get the No. 1 pick overall, from their current sixth position, of which they have a 6.3% chance, then a more experienced coach might be their decision.
However, if the team were to slip in the lottery a coach with a shorter contract is what might be the choice.
There is a 30.5% possibility they fall down one spot to seventh during the lottery and a 4% chance of falling to eighth and 0.1% chance of dropping to ninth.
Regardless, Magic Johnson who is an unpaid vice president of the Lakers was ecstatic to learn of the resignation of D’Antoni.
On Twitter Johnson wrote that Happy days were back again in LA. He said he could not be happier for the franchise.