It doesn’t really matter that Mike D’Antoni actually resigned. The overall feeling was that the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t want him anymore, and the same goes for Kobe Bryant looking for a new head coach. Obviously, it sparked a long line of memes, some joking about the unemployed coach, but the others mostly making fun of the Lakers star.
The interesting thing about all of this is that no other head coach would have done a lot better with this team. The Lakers of the 2013-2014 season, with or without Kobe Bryant playing (he did, for only six games), were a bad team that weren’t going to make the playoffs.
But Bryant has a way about him that spins things in directions other than him. Yes, he is part of a huge decade that included five championships for the Lakers. But his basketball since 2010, and the crippling salary that comes with it, are a big part of why this franchise has hit something of a rock bottom moment.
No more Dwight Howard for the media to blame. No more Mike D’Antoni as well. The Lakers suddenly don’t seem like a team that is such an attractive spot for top free agents to land in. And with so much money still tied to Kobe Bryant’s contract, it’s going to take something close to magicians work from the next Lakers head coach to make this team more than just competitive in the incredibly tough Western conference.