Mike D'Antoni reflects on the Lakers' tough season

SAN ANTONIO -- Mike D'Antoni might coach his last game with the Lakers on Wednesday night. Or he might be back next season for the final guaranteed year of his contract.

It's the biggest subplot of a Lakers' off-season sure to feature some twists and turns.

"We'll sit down with Mitch and Jim at the end of the year and reassess everything and see where we are and see what their thoughts are," D'Antoni said Wednesday, referring to Lakers executives Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss. "I don't have any thoughts yet. The biggest thing was trying to get to the end of the year and we got that done. Now you go to the next step. Nothing has been talked about or said or looked at. Just taking it step by step."

The Lakers (26-55) have never lost this many games in a season and were eliminated from playoff contention a month ago. Their season finale is Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs, who own the NBA's best record.

"Before the season, everybody said we would have a good shot at making the playoffs if Kobe [Bryant] came back, if Steve Nash came back, if Pau [Gasol] played at a big level and we developed a couple guys," D'Antoni said. "Well, we developed a couple guys and Pau had a good year but the other two guys didn't come back. That was a big part of it. Things had to go right and didn't.

"After that, it gets a little complicated. You make the [Steve Blake] trade in the middle of the year. Shawne Williams gets let go and he was starting. Then obviously your objectives change and you try to develop guys and you do things that you might not do all the time."

Twelve of the Lakers' 15 players are expected to be free agents in July, assuming Nick Young declines a player option for $1.2 million next season.

"Decisions will be made going forward on about a million things," D'Antoni said.

The Lakers have missed 309 man-games to injury this season.

"We couldn't get any traction because we couldn't get the same starting lineup for four or five games in a row," D'Antoni said. "When Kobe comes in for six games and then goes out, it takes another 10 games to get us settled again and then Steve [Nash] would go in and out, Steve Blake went in and out, and then out. Shawne Williams in, out, out, in, out. When you do that, then guys are in different roles and asked to do different things and it's not fair to them. To me, that's where the season went sideways."


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