The 62-year-old still had a year to run on his $12 million
three-year contract but the team announced on Tuesday that he had
decided to step down.
D'Antoni joined the Lakers in November, 2012 after Mike Brown was
fired following just 71 games in charge. Under D'Antoni's guidance,
the Lakers compiled a 67-87 record.
"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."
The Lakers limped into the playoffs in D'Antoni's first year in
charge but finished the 2013-14 season with a dismal 27-55 record,
the worst 82-game return in team history.
There had been growing speculation about his position with the
fading team and his departure was greeted warmly by one of his more
outspoken and high-profile critics.
"Happy days are here again. Mike D'Antoni resigns as Lakers coach. I
couldn't be happier," Lakers great Magic Johnson tweeted.
D'Antoni had previously worked as head coach of the Denver Nuggets,
Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks, compiling a career record of
He was named NBA coach of the year for the 2004-05 season after
leading the Suns to the Western Conference finals. He led Phoenix to
the same stage the following year and was appointed the Western
Conference coach for the 2007 All-Star Game.
[to top of second column]
A proponent of the
fast-break and up-tempo offense, D'Antoni's style never really
worked with a Lakers roster that was plagued by injuries to key
Kobe Bryant managed just six games this season while Steve Nash, who
also served under D'Antoni at Phoenix, played just 15 times. He also
lost the services of Dwight Howard after just one season when the
player left to join Houston.
D'Antoni is the fourth head coach to leave the Lakers in the past
three years with the winners of 16 National Basketball Association
titles, second only the Boston Celtics, falling on hard times since
the departure of Phil Jackson in 2011.
In his statement, Kupchak said the search for a replacement would
begin immediately, although no timetable had been established.
There was no immediate comment from D'Antoni about his departure but
his agent told ESPN that his client and the Lakers had "hit an
(Editing by Julian Linden and John O'Brien)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.