Mitch Kupchak won't discuss Mike D'Antoni's future with Lakers

SALT LAKE CITY — Mitch Kupchak paused for several seconds. It wasn't an easy question to answer.

What will be Mike D'Antoni's fate?

Finally, the Lakers' general manager spoke briefly about the Lakers' coach.

"I'm not going to discuss Mike other than to say there is no timetable for any type of decision. So there's really nothing to share," Kupchak told The Times.

It represented a departure from his comments last month that D'Antoni was "doing a great job under the circumstances."

That might still be true. The Lakers have lost a staggering 308 man-games to injury this season, making it hard to judge any coach.

But Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol aren't fans of D'Antoni's offense and most Lakers followers don't support D'Antoni, even though he hasn't had a healthy roster in his two seasons.

So there's a lot to mull for the Lakers. D'Antoni presumably wants a quick decision but the team holds the keys to his contract.

In D'Antoni's favor, the Lakers owe him $4 million next season and are tired of paying people not to coach them. In the last 10 seasons, only Phil Jackson was not still owed money when he left the team.

Rudy Tomjanovich was paid $9 million when he abruptly resigned as the Lakers' coach midway through the 2004-05 season. He was in the first season of a five-year, $30-million deal and later served as a consultant for the team.

The Lakers initially owed Mike Brown $7 million when they fired him five games into last season. They recouped about $2.5 million of that money, as per NBA rules, when Brown was hired to coach Cleveland this season.

The Lakers don't want the reputation of a coaching turnstile. It's what they become if they let D'Antoni go.

D'Antoni declined to speculate on his job status Monday. Asked about his future, he said he was prepared for exit meetings with players Thursday and Friday. And he was eager for Easter.

He gave a typically self-deprecating answer when asked how he kept his sanity this season.

"What sanity?" he said.

The Lakers (26-55) had never lost this many games in a season but ended a losing streak at seven games with a 119-104 victory over Utah on Monday. Their final game is Wednesday at San Antonio.

Where was Bryant?

The Lakers' radio and TV affiliates had been notified: Bryant would grab a microphone and say a few words on fan appreciation night at Staples Center before Sunday's game against Memphis.

He didn't show up. Nick Young took his place and thanked Lakers fans before tipoff, calling them "the best in the world."

It was a surprise to many, including Lakers radio play-by-play broadcaster John Ireland, who announced to listeners that Bryant was about to talk to fans before correcting himself, "No, wait. It's Nick Young."

Bryant arrived late to the game because of a migraine, a team spokesman said. The Lakers lost, 102-90.

Bryant hasn't played since December because of a fractured knee. He played only six games this season.

Kent Bazemore to have foot surgery

Reserve swingman Kent Bazemore will have foot surgery Wednesday at Stanford University.

Bazemore, acquired from Golden State two months ago, was declared done for the season after suffering a torn tendon in his right foot a little more than a week ago against the Clippers.

He averaged 13.1 points in 23 games with the Lakers.

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

Times staff writer Ben Bolch contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

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