Los Angeles Lakers hoping for mutual split with Mike D'Antoni, per report

Jeff Gross

The Lakers want a new coach, but would prefer not to fire their current one.

The Los Angeles Lakers hope to begin their offseason by parting ways with head coach Mike D'Antoni in a "peaceful, mutual" manner, reports Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News. With just a few games left in the season, speculation has run rampant that the Lakers coach will be one of the first fired after the final whistle.

However, Lawrence reports that the Lakers don't want to fire D'Antoni, who still has one year and $4 million remaining on his contract, plus a team option for the 2015-16 season. He says the ideal scenario for the Lakers involves another team asking to hire away D'Antoni, which would allow L.A. to get out his contract while avoiding a second firing in 18 months.

Retooling for Lakers

The team could then make a popular move by hiring Byron Scott or Kurt Rambis, two former players from the Lakers' Showtime days, says Lawrence.

However, if nobody else wants D'Antoni, the Lakers will be left to fire or buyout the coach. In that scenario, given the team's apparent aversion to another firing, expect both sides to reach an amicable agreement of some kind. The Lakers could then move on, but it's a bit more complicated than the scenario described above.

One possible destination for D'Antoni could be his alma mater, Marshall University. Though he's never had experience coaching the college game, D'Antoni recently told CBS Sports that he'd be interested in the Thundering Herd gig if he's fired in L.A.

Los Angeles hired D'Antoni in November 2012 after firing Mike Brown. He led the team to a 40-32 record last season before being swept in the first round of the postseason by the San Antonio Spurs. This season, with a bare bones roster, the Lakers have stumbled to a 25-54 record, though it's unclear how much of that should be attributed to the coach.

This is D'Antoni's 12th season as an NBA coach. He's posted a 453-425 record with the Lakers, Knicks, Suns and Nuggets. In 2006, he led Phoenix within two wins of a NBA Finals appearance.

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