Mike D’Antoni resigns as Lakers coach

Mike D'Antoni gives some instruction in the final seconds to Chris Duhon and Kobe Bryant. The Lakers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 95-90 in a game played at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. The game was new coach Mike D'Antoni's first victory as a Laker. 11/20/12 (photos by John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

Mike D’Antoni gives some instruction in the final seconds to Chris Duhon and Kobe Bryant. The Lakers defeated the Brooklyn Nets 95-90 in a game played at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. The game was new coach Mike D’Antoni’s first victory as a Laker. 11/20/12 (photos by John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

After overseeing the Lakers finish with their worst record in L.A. franchise history and lacking support from Kobe Bryant, Mike D’Antoni resigned as the Lakers coach on Thursday, according to his agent, Warren Legarie.

Legarie said D’Antoni reached an “insurmountable impasse” after the Lakers failed to provide assurances that they would exercise his team option that would ensure he would finish out the two years on his contract. He was owed a guaranteed $4 million for the 2014-15 season, while the Lakers held a team option for the 2015-16 campaign.

“Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “On behalf of the Lakers, we thank Mike for the work ethic, professionalism and positive attitude that he brought to the team every day. We wish him the best of luck.”
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Mike D’Antoni set to have formal talks with Lakers on Thursday

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni during a press conference held at the Toyota Sports Center,  El Segundo Calif., Friday, April 18,  2014.  (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni during a press conference held at the Toyota Sports Center, El Segundo Calif., Friday, April 18, 2014.
(Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Mike D’Antoni plans to continue having discussions with the Lakers on Thursday, including whether he will coach for the 2014-15 season, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

D’Antoni currently plans to speak with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak on Thursday over the phone, as opposed to in person. This newspaper also learned that D’Antoni also had preliminary talk with Kupchak late Wednesday afternoon.
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James Worthy to be Lakers’ NBA draft lottery representative

Former Lakers star James Worthy, who is an analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet, is concerned whether Kobe Bryant can adjust his game while recovering from his torn Achilles tendon. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Former Lakers star James Worthy, who is an analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet, will represent the Lakers at the NBA draft lottery on May 20 in New York City. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

It turns out James Worthy’s contributions to the Lakers’ history will go beyond helping them win three NBA championships.

Worthy will also represent the Lakers at NBA draft lottery on May 20.

“We thought James would be a great choice to represent us,” Lakers spokesman John Black said. “He’s meant a lot to our organization. He’s a Hall of Famer and he’s the last player we had that was our No. 1 pick. Hopefully that will be our next choice.”

The Lakers had considered sending president Jeanie Buss after representing the organization the last time it was in the lottery in 2005. The Lakers also thought of general manager Mitch Kupchak. But the Lakers decided on Worthy, who was the Lakers’ last top overall pick during the 1982 draft. Worthy is currently an analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet, the Lakers’ broadcast partner.

The Lakers currently are slated to have the sixth pick of the NBA Draft on June 26. But they have a 6.3 percent chance of winning the top spot at the lottery in New York.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers feature four inductees in inaugural Santa Barbara Basketball Court of Champions

The common thread that tie Bill Bertka, Don Ford, Brian Shaw and Jamaal Wilkes involve two things.

All have served in various capacities with the Lakers. All will be among the 21 inductees into the Santa Barbara Basketball Court of Champions on June 1, an inaugural event aimed to honor individuals from the Santa Barbara community that made significant contributions to basketball.

All four candidates provided that job description in various ways.

Bertka, the team’s current special assistant to the general manager for the past 11 years, has worked 33 seasons with the Lakers with various roles as a scout, director of player personnel and an assistant coach on the staffs ranging from Pat Riley, Mike Dunleavy, Randy Pfund, Magic Johnson, Del Harris, Kurt Rambis and Phil Jackson.

Wilkes played eight of his 12 NBA seasons with the Lakers, helping them to NBA titles in (1980, 1982, 1985). An unnamed UCLA engineering student first called him “Silk” during his sophomore season to describe his smooth style. The late Chick Hearn, the famed Lakers announcer, called Wilkes “the 20-foot layup” because of his consistent shot. He averaged 18.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists while wearing the purple and gold despite nursing an unorthodox shooting stroke.

Shaw won three NBA championships both as a key reserve (1999-2003) and as an assistant under both Frank Hamblen Jackson (2004-2011). He also served one year as a scout.

Ford played for 4 1/2 seasons with the Lakers after being selected in the sixth round of the 1975 NBA Draft. Before he was traded to Cleveland, Ford averaged 7.1 points and 3.8 rebounds through 368 games with the Lakers.

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Faecbook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Donald Sterling scandal: Steve Nash, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar among Lakers’ supporters at L.A. City Hall

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks during a press conference at Los Angeles city hall regarding NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's banning of Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA April 29, 2014.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar speaks during a press conference at Los Angeles city hall regarding NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s banning of Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA April 29, 2014.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)

Something about the Clippers sparked an emotional chord with the Lakers.

This did not involve outrage over the Clippers displaying posters that covered up the Lakers’ championship banners and retired jerseys. This did not entail the Lakers expressing resentment over the Clippers’ superior success. This focused on the reaction surrounding Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racially denigrating comments on an audio tape.

Former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, forward A.C. Green, current guard Steve Nash and former forward Luke Walton represented a handful of both former and current NBA players going to L.A. City Hall on Tuesday to express their support for NBA commissioner Adam Silver punishing Sterling with a life-time ban.

“When you get this many Lakers to stand up for the Clippers,” Mayor Eric Garcetti quipped, “you know something big is happening in L.A.”
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Donald Sterling ban: Lakers president Jeanie Buss praises Adam Silver’s ‘great leadership’

Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson talks to the media about the Lakers at a Time Warner event to honor the late Jerry Buss in Los Angeles.  Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News

Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson talks to the media about the Lakers at a Time Warner event to honor the late Jerry Buss in Los Angeles. Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News

Lakers president Jeanie Buss officially marked one of many NBA owners that applauded NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for issuing Clippers owner Donald Sterling a life-time ban after making racially insensitive remarks on an audio tape.

“In my statement yesterday, I said I had full confidence in Adam Silver and how he and the NBA would handle this situation,” Buss said Tuesday in a statement. “In today’s announcement Adam was decisive, firm and compelling and showed great leadership in his condemnation of the horrible and offensive comments that have led to this action.”

Sterling’s life-time ban means he is barred from attending any Clippers games, including tonight’s Game 5 of their first-round series against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. Sterling also cannot go to any practices and has no say in any future business and personnel decisions. Silver also handed Sterling a $2.5 million fine.

Silver said three-fourths of the NBA’s owners would have to vote to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers reflect on Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay

The Lakers never worked with the man on the sideline. But with Hall of Fame basketball coach Jack Ramsay dying in his sleep at age 89 after a long fight with cancer, the Lakers were well aware of the impact he made.

“I’ve been an admirer of Dr. Jack Ramsay since I was playing high school basketball in New York and he was coaching the [Philadelphia] 76ers,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “Although we never worked together directly, it was my pleasure and honor to have gotten to know him and join him in the NBA family over the past 37 years. On behalf of the entire Lakers organization, we send our deepest condolences to the Ramsay family.”

Ramsay is best known for winning the 1977 NBA championship with the Portland Trail Blazers coach. But he had a presence with the Lakers in recent years as a broadcaster for ESPN Radio. Anytime he arrived at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, players, coaches and staff members greeted Ramsay with warmth and affection.



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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Donald Sterling controversey: Jeanie Buss condemns comments

In this Dec. 19, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is intent on moving quickly in dealing with the racially charged scandal surrounding Clippers owner Sterling. The NBA league will discuss its investigation Tuesday, April 29, 2014, before the Clippers play Golden State in Game 5 of their playoff series. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)

In this Dec. 19, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is intent on moving quickly in dealing with the racially charged scandal surrounding Clippers owner Sterling. The NBA league will discuss its investigation Tuesday, April 29, 2014, before the Clippers play Golden State in Game 5 of their playoff series. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)

Amid racist statements attributed to Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the Lakers released a statement condemning such words.

“The comments and sentiments expressed on the tape are reprehensible and disturbing, and certainly are the opposite of how the Lakers feel about the league’s players and fans,” Lakers President Jeanie Buss said in the statement. “I have full confidence that Adam Silver and the NBA will handle this situation appropriately.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Donald Sterling controversey: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar calls for Clippers owner to cede control

Former UCLA and Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, spinning a basketball while visiting children last year in the Alemao complex slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is interested in joining part of a future Milwaukee Bucks ownership group. (Victor R. Caivano/The Associated Press)

Former UCLA and Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, spinning a basketball while visiting children last year in the Alemao complex slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is interested in joining part of a future Milwaukee Bucks ownership group. (Victor R. Caivano/The Associated Press)

Amid Clippers owner Donald Sterling purported to have made racially disparaging comments on an audio tape obtained by TMZ, Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called him for him to cede his control of the franchise.

“Donald Sterling’s recent comments confirm that he is guilty of the systematic racism that he’s been accused of for the past 14 years,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote on his Facebook page. “The best possible outcome would be for him to voluntarily give up his franchise so a new owner who reflects the values of America can take over. In the meantime, we all need to continue to support the Clippers, who clearly are enduring a moral crisis. At a time like this, it’s important that they remember that, though the team is owned by Sterling, they are not defined by him anymore than Americans are defined by any one elected official. The players are defined by their actions. And right now their actions should reflect their commitment to the fans and to showing the world that the players live up to the principles of equality.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark MEdina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Donald Sterling controversey: Kobe Bryant expresses appreciation for Lakers’ ownership

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant looks on from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in New York. The Knicks defeated the Lakers 110-103. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant looks on from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in New York. The Knicks defeated the Lakers 110-103. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The persistent losing frustrated Kobe Bryant enough to put public pressure on the Lakers’ front office to rebuild quickly. The occasionally clash between Jim and Jeanie Buss prompted Bryant to call for them to improve their relationship. Philosophical differences with Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced system and his struggles handling an injury-depleted roster soured Bryant’s outlook on them.

But those issues hardly compare to what the Clippers are currently experiencing. Yes, they are the best team in Los Angeles and are currently in the playoffs. But with Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racially disparaging remarks according to an audio recording obtained by TMZ, Bryant became among one of the many NBA stars speaking out against his words. For Bryant, the incident also provided a bigger reminder that he appreciates what he currently has.

 
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