SACRAMENTO — Even with the possibility the Lakers could miss the playoffs for the first time since 2005, coach Mike D’Antoni has kept his sense of humor.
Consider his response when a Sacramento reporter asked about possibly coaching his last game if the Kings move to Seattle.
“You mean because I might not be coaching anymore?” D’Antoni chuckled.
D’Antoni signed a four-year, $12 million deal with the Lakers, which hold a team option for his final season. The Lakers’ front office has publicly supported him.
Has D’Antoni been told otherwise?
“I don’t know anything,” D’Antoni joked. “As a matter of fact, that could be the problem.”
D’Antoni also sounded self-deprecating regarding his playing career.
He had a storied time in Italy where he finished as Olimpia Milanoa’s all-time leading scorer, won five Italian League titles, two Euroleague titles, two Cups of Italy, one Korac Cup and one Intercontinental Cup from 1978-1990. His NBA career was hardly as successful.
After playing at Marshall University, D’Antoni was drafted by the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in the second round of the 1973 NBA Draft. Had NBA stints with both the Kings (1973-76) and San Antonio Spurs (1977-78). D’Antoni averaged only 3.4 points through four seasons.
He’s not too far from joining Kobe Bryant to eclipse Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, right?
“I’m right there,” D’Antoni joked. “Just a couple bad games.”
“Sign a 10 day and jump back in,” a reporter suggested.
“Exactly,” D’Antoni before eying the various jerseys at Sleep Train Arena. “I played for the Kings and they must be laundering my jersey. They do some spring cleaning and a lot of times it’s not up there.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org