Mike D'Antoni talked about the Los Angeles Lakers' front office in light of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka replacing Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak.
“I really liked working with Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss; they weren’t the problem,” said D’Antoni who resigned as Lakers head coach in April 2014 after two seasons. “When you have a superstar of the magnitude of Kobe (Bryant), and he retires. And…they had tried to make the trade for Chris Paul (in Dec. 2011 that was blocked by the NBA), and they had it, and that would’ve (kept them successful) another 10 years, and it didn’t work out."
The Lakers were widely expected to be title favorites in 2012 when they acquired Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. The Lakers fired Mike Brown and hired D'Antoni shortly after the start of that season. With Nash and Howard battling injuries, the Lakers struggled to even reach the playoffs.
“They make a couple good moves, get Dwight (Howard), and it didn’t work out. They were doing the right things ... You have to accept that ‘Ok, we’re not (good), and let’s take baby steps.’ And a lot of times, for New York and Los Angeles, that’s not good enough.
“I don’t see (Johnson’s appeal as) being one of the top factors in players deciding whether LA is (for them),” said D’Antoni. “It’s the players they have, the money you’re getting, the role you’re going to have. I see all that way before (the Magic appeal)."