The Suns couldn't control
What will the Lakers do with Coach
What will happen with
The answers in quick succession as of now — undetermined, staying and staying.
The Lakers have a dilemma with D'Antoni, who coached the Suns for five successful seasons. They still owe him $4million next season and don't want to look like a franchise with a coaching turnstile.
So the team will decide fairly quickly after the April 16 regular-season finale — pay him to not coach the team, just like
Nash sat out another game, which is no longer surprising for a player who appeared in only 12 this season.
For financial reasons, the Lakers currently plan to keep him next season, The Times has learned, eating the remainder of his contract ($9.7 million) in one swoop instead of waiving him and spreading the money out over three years.
It would give them more money to spend in the summers of 2015 and 2016, when they figure to be active players in the free-agent market amid such possible names as
So the Lakers will take the 40-year-old Nash into next season and hope he can play more than a handful of games.
They also plan to keep Marshall, the 13th selection in the 2012 draft, whom they signed as a free agent a little more than three months ago. He averages 8.9 assists, but his shooting accuracy has dropped every month: 57.1% in four December games, 43.5% in January, 39.8% in February and 33.7% in March.
The key for Marshall, 22, is his relatively inexpensive non-guaranteed contract — $915,243 next season in a league in which the average salary is about $5.5 million.
Marshall needed to develop a “grittiness” like slow but determined veteran point guard
"He gives up a lot of foot speed, but you've got to [overcome] it by angles and you've got to do it by anticipating," D'Antoni said of Marshall. "What he does, he does really well. He just can't have a day where you're not thinking real hard, because you're not going to make it up with your physical speed."
D'Antoni also had some thoughts on the injury-prone Nash. "He's 40 years old, playing what he loves, so I'm pretty envious. I don't feel sorry for him," he said. "He could have quit early like everybody else did. I think it's just remarkable."
As for his own job security, D'Antoni said last week he wouldn't be caught looking wistfully into a mug of hot chocolate while pondering his future.
The Lakers (25-48) certainly weren't pining for themselves after a fruitless trip in which they fell to the NBA's worst team (Milwaukee) and suffered their worst loss ever to Minnesota, 143-107.
"Well, we have to put a little more effort on him," Suns Coach Jeff Hornacek said. "He just backed our guys down and shot a ball in a hole."
Marshall had 13 points and 11 assists against his former team and
Gerald Green had 22 points for the Suns (44-30), who wanted to win to keep Dallas and Memphis at bay in the chase for seventh place in the Western Conference.
The Lakers are reduced to being spoilers in the playoff race. They did their job expertly Sunday. email@example.com