Or rather, he could. And he most definitely should.
Sources told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and Marc Stein the Marshall Thundering Herd, D’Antoni’s Alma Mater, reached out to him about becoming their next head coach:
Marshall has reached out to Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni to gauge his interest in coaching his alma mater, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Thundering Herd have pursued D’Antoni before and made this latest inquiry — which coincides with his uncertain future in Los Angeles — because they “always sound him out” any time Marshall has an opening in a bow to D’Antoni’s stature in school history.
But sources stressed D’Antoni is highly unlikely to make such a switch even if the Lakers opt for a coaching change at season’s end. Although he has served as an unofficial sounding board for school officials in the past, D’Antoni has coached only at the pro level, with three stops in Italy and stints with the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Lakers in the NBA.
Nothing like waiting until the season is over, right?
Obviously D’Antoni’s almer mater—who is looking to replace former head coach Tom Herrion—has to check. It’s a good public relations move to show interest in someone who graduated from Marshall. Not to mention that D’Antoni could be a good fit, despite being hated by so many at the NBA level. He’s coaching in the Association for a reason, after all.
But now? Like, right now? Even if Marshall officials are in constant contact with Magic Mike, why not wait to, you know, see if he actually loses his job in the next couple weeks?
Which leads me to ask this: Will D’Antoni lose his job in the next couple weeks?
The lack of interest he’s showing in the Marshall opening doesn’t come as a surprise. Even if the Lakers fire him, D’Antoni is going to find refuge elsewhere in the NBA. Maybe it’s as a prestigious assistant, but still, there will always be NBA jobs for someone who runs a high-powered offense.
That job may even be in Los Angeles. The Lakers aren’t going to be contending for a title next season unless they pull an unlikely free-agency coup or trade. All signs point to them being uber active in summer 2015. If they’re simply looking for another stopgap, D’Antoni is perfect. He knows how to make something out of nothing. This year’s Lakers team is bona fide proof.
Problem is, D’Antoni is basically considered a dead coach walking. Previous rumors intimated that Kobe Bryant doesn’t want to play for D’Antoni next season. Pau Gasol and D’Antoni have also been known to butt heads. Chris Kaman and D’Antoni are also known to rarely speak.
Bryant is obviously the key. If he doesn’t want D’Antoni in Los Angeles, then Magic Mike is gone. Never mind that he hasn’t received a fair shake. Never mind he was forced to take over an injury-prone, egotistical disaster in the middle of last season. Never mind he’s been given mostly one-year mercenaries and injured veterans to work with this year.
If Bryant wants him out, he’s out.
And Marshall will be waiting.
As will another NBA team.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com.