The head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers coach stepped down after two seasons following the organization's refusal to take up his contract's option for the same fee, $4 million, for the 2015-2016 season. "I couldn't be happier!" tweeted former Lakers star Magic Johnson
The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Wednesday that head coach Mike D’Antoni had resigned after two tough seasons, leaving with a 67-87 record.
While D’Antoni still had one more year with a $4 million paycheck left on his contract, his agent said the head coach was spurred to leave after the Lakers refused to take up his option for the 2015–16 season for the same fee.
“It was an impossible decision for Mike,” D’Antoni’s agent Warren LeGarie told the Los Angeles Times. “He loved the guys on the team, the young guys. He clearly felt he had impacted their development and they had a real good buy-in on this. But clearly there wasn’t enough there to get us past some of the issues.”
During his short tenure, the Lakers made one playoff appearance, last season, but were handily swept by the San Antonio Spurs during the first round. The franchise’s All-Star duo Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol were also rumored to have been unhappy with D’Antoni’s coaching style.
“Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons,” said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak 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.”
Such magnanimity was sorely missing from Twitter, though, where former Laker Magic Johnson relished in the embattled coach’s departure.
Happy days are here again! Mike D’Antoni resigns as the Lakers coach. I couldn’t be happier!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 1, 2014