Kerr says he wants D’Antoni back …

Interesting turn of events in Phoenix this afternoon. This morning, SI.com’s Jack McCallum reported that Mike D’Antoni would not be the Suns coach next year. And McCallum should know, having spent a whole season with the team during the 2005-06 season while writing the book, :07 Seconds or Less.

But this afternoon, reports out of Phoenix suggest it’s not a done deal yet.

“I’d like to see him back,” Kerr said. “I’d like to see us working together. It’s been well documented we have some different ideas and different approaches. And what we have to do is talk and communicate and make sure we can get on the same page in terms of how this organization can get better, how this team can get better.”

This might all be posturing though. D’Antoni is still owed a lot of money –$8.5 million over two years — and it would have to be paid if the Suns fired him. Seeing as how D’Antoni is a good coach, and would have several potential suitors if he became available, the Suns may just be hoping he finds another job and leaves.

His comments to reporters Wednesday suggest that might be exactly what happens.

“I think we’ve just got to talk and I’m not going to be able to sit here and explain, guys,” he said. “I hate to be abrupt but we’ll all sit down and talk and evaluate everything and see where we are. I’d love to go on but I’ll keep talking and kill myself.”

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Light day

The Lakers practiced this afternoon but several of the team’s veterans took the day off to rest up. The team won’t know its second round opponent until Friday night at the earliest, when Utah hosts Houston in Game 6 of their best-of-7 first round series. Utah leads 3-2

The Jazz had the best home record (37-4) in the NBA during the regular season, but were just 17-24 on the road. So if they can’t close out Houston on Friday, the Rockets should have a very good chance in Game 7.

The Lakers were 3-1 vs. Utah in the regular season (including one big win in Utah) and just 1-2 vs. the Rockets.

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D’Antoni out in Phoenix, Avery Johnson out in Dallas

Wow!

I know it’s not Lakers related, but considering the wars the Lakers have had with the Suns and Mavericks over the years, I thought you all might be interested.

According to a report on SI.com, Mike D’Antoni is going to be taking the fall for the Suns first-round playoff ouster this season.

And in a widely-reported and expected move, the Mavericks fired coach Avery Johnson after their second-straight first-round loss.

Looks like that TNT slogan –Win or go home — was too soft. In the dog-eat-dog Western Conference, it’s more like “Win or be fired”

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It could be a while

Houston just worked Utah to stay alive in their best of 7 first-round series, meaning the Lakers are going to have to wait around awhile before getting started on their second-round series.

If Utah had won tonight, the next round would’ve started on Sunday. But now Utah and Houston have to play again on Thursday, so at the earliest, the second round probably wouldn’t start until early next week.

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Melo: postgame thoughts

I just caught Carmelo Anthony’s postgame thoughts on the series:

This time, he was a bit more composed, and pleased with his teammates effort:
“One thing I can say about tonight’s game is that we left it out there. I think Kobe just took over in the fourth quarter and made some big shots.

“He just exploded at the end of the game, which is something he always does.”

Then he was asked whether this meant changes need to be made in Denver:

“I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to the front office. I don’t make those decisions. I try not to get involved in that.”

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George Karl’s job is secure…

At least according to a report in the Denver Post…

After Denver’s film session on Sunday, Karl was asked about his job security, and conversations with the team brass. “There’s never been any question of what you all have been talked about. Never. … I’ve always had positive indications. You’re with an organization four or five years, people are going to write (certain things). That’s the nature of the beast today.”

Karl has two years left on his contract.

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Fisher is NBA’s best flopper!

Or the NBA’s toughest defender, depending on how you see these things. But according to the always entertaining 82game.com, Derek Fisher just outflopped Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut to take the league’s annual unofficial Vlade Divac Most Valuable Flopper award.

Fisher drew a league-leading 54 charges this year. Bogut drew 53. Third place went to Sacramento’s Mikki Moore, with 51, Memphis Kyle Lowry and Portland’s Joel Przybilla had 47, while Denver’s Allen Iverson chipped in with 46. Who says the Nuggets don’t play defense?

As it turns out though, Fisher was kind of lucky to win the award this year. Last year, Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao drew a ridiculous 99 offensive fouls. This year though, he missed about half the season due to a protracted contract holdout and injuries.

In 2005-06, Phoenix Raja Bell won the award by drawing 76 offensive fouls.

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Morning Buzz…

Sorry, this was supposed to publish in the actual morning today, but there were some technical difficulties last night…

Anyway, here you go:

Elliott writes about the symbolic gesture sweeping the Nuggets would make, while Steve opines on the technical difficulties in finishing off a wounded opponent in today’s Daily News

Steve Springer has an excellent feature on Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, which includes one of the funniest opening sentences you’ll ever see in the hallowed pages of the LA Times.

Mark Heisler reminds Colorado fans that they still have the Rockies!

And Mike Bresnahan breaks down what could be a bad break-up if the Lakers take care of business tonight.

Over at the Orange County Register, Kevin Ding looks forward at a possible second-round matchup with the Utah Jazz and likes the Lakers chances.

While in Riverside, the Press-Enterprise to be precise, Brad Turner discovers some psycho-babble in the Denver weight room, with some assistance from super sleuth Phil Jackson.

The mood in Colorado is downright funereal, according to the Denver Post’s Benjamin Hochman. But that doesn’t mean it’s George Karl’s fault.

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