Laker fans finally have something to smile about. After enduring a 27-55 season (worst in franchise history), Mike D’Antoni stepped down as head coach Wednesday night. This comes after the Lakers declined to pick up his contract option for the 2015-16 season.
Immediately after the news broke, social media sites such as Twitter exploded with reactions from fans, experts and celebrities.
Former Laker Magic Johnson tweeted, “Happy days are here again! Mike D’Antoni resigns as the Lakers coach. I couldn’t be happier!”
In his tenure as coach, D’Antoni led the Lakers to a 67-87 record and a first round sweep to the San Antonio Spurs in 2013. After the 2013 season, Los Angeles lost all-star center Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets in free agency, something that Lakers fans attributed to D’Antoni being coach of the team. In the 2014 season, star guard Kobe Bryant played in only six games because of injuries, as well as 319 total missed games by the team combined, fans voiced their displeasure of D’Antoni early and often.
As for the future, the Lakers’ front office has already begun creating a list of potential candidates. The list is expanding by the day, but already includes Chicago Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau, Kentucky head coach john Calipari, Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie, and former head coach and Laker, Byron Scott.
The Laker’s current assistant coach and former player for the franchise, Kurt Rambis has also been brought up as potential candidate, as he coached the Timberwolves from 2009-11.
In addition, rumors are currently swirling that former Laker’s and current Oklahoma City Thunder point guard, Derek Fisher, could be an option as well. Fisher had announced at the beginning of the season that this would be his last, and he has been known over the course of his 18 years in the league as a leader and on-court coach. Fisher also has a strong relationship with Bryant, as the Laker’s all-star called him “My all time favorite teammate”.
Which direction the Lakers will go in, no one knows. One thing is for sure; they have plenty of options.
Stay tuned for more updates.