LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant looks to be having an excellent anniversary trip in Paris, judging by the photos posted on his wife's Instagram account, but on the off chance he happened to be watching Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak's 45-minute news conference Friday to close the worst season since the franchise moved to Los Angeles, there was something Kupchak really wanted him to understand.
"I've already used the word patience I think once or twice, so if [Bryant] is in Europe watching this, I'm sure he's saying, 'Why is Mitch using the word 'patience?'" Kupchak said. "He's not the most patient person in the world. And that's never going to change.
"Because of that, we've been to the Finals a bunch of times and we've won five championships. So, it's hard to criticize him.
"We want the same thing. We both want to win as much and as soon as possible. But it takes an organization a long time to get in the position that we're in where we have options financially going forward for the next year or two or three and we just have to make wise decisions using that space. If you don't make a wise decision, then you can set yourself back 6-7 years, and we don't want to do that."
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The worst season in Los Angeles Lakers history ended. Two days of exit interviews ensued. And Mike D'Antoni walked out of the Lakers' practice facility Friday with his job still in place as the coach of the league's marquee team.
"He's under contract for two more years," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said of D'Antoni, who is set to make $4 million next season, with a team-option to retain him in 2015-16. "If anything changes, we'll let you know."
Kupchak said that he, D'Antoni and Lakers vice president of player personnel Jim Buss will huddle in the near future to review the season after D'Antoni takes some time off with his family for the Easter holiday. The GM made it clear in advance of that review that he doesn't peg the season's struggles on D'Antoni's coaching.
"Under the circumstances, I'm not sure anybody could have done better job than he did," Kupchak said.
D'Antoni, who has gone 67-87 (.435) with the Lakers since being hired to replace Mike Brown at the beginning of last season, said speculation about his job status was to be expected.
"I think every coach should be under scrutiny, and they're under it even if it goes well," D'Antoni said, alluding to the record 12 coaches who were fired after last season. "There will come a day where you sit down with management, see where they want to go, and try to get on the same page, whatever page that is. That hasn't been decided today."
Whatever does happen, D'Antoni said he has no regrets about his time as the 24th coach in Lakers franchise history.
"I think anytime the Lakers call, anyone would take this job," he said.
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While it is widely believed that the New York Knicks have already made the decision to move on from coach Mike Woodson, sources tell ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard that nothing will be announced this weekend.
Woodson's fate is likely to be announced early next week.
Sources close to the situation told ESPN that Woodson is "bracing" for the worst, especially after the Knicks conducted exit interviews with players Thursday without the coach present.
It is thought, however, that Woodson has not been told of his fate.
Earlier Friday, a league source told ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley that Woodson is not interested in having a face-to-face meeting with team president Phil Jackson until he gets further clarification on his status.
The Knicks' subpar performance this season has led to widespread speculation about Woodson's future.
On Wednesday, the coach said he'd like a resolution on whether he will return next season as soon as possible. Friday on "SportsCenter," ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said Woodson would prefer that Jackson reach out to his agent if he's going to fire him rather than have a face-to-face meeting to inform him he's being let go.
The widespread belief in NBA coaching circles remains that the job will be Steve Kerr's if he wants it, as reported by ESPN.com from the day Phil Jackson was introduced as Knicks president in March.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher also has been mentioned as a possibility as a coach or for a front-office position. Fisher said going into this season, his 18th, that it would be his last as a player, but it's believed he prefers a future on the executive side to coaching.
Let's start here: When did it really begin to fall apart for the Pacers?
That's question No. 1. As the NBA prepares itself for its annual entry into Season 2, there are questions that are always left unanswered. In the case of the Indiana Pacers -- who have now generated more unanswered questions than any playoff team in the NBA -- there are so many questions it is almost impossible to know where to begin. What caused the Pacers' spiral? What effect will it have on them once the playoffs begin? Can they recover?
It's not at all as if the Pacers are alone. Far from it. Every team has lingering and irritating questions that they are distancing themselves from or in search of solving. Most won't. The attempt here is not to so much answer these questions as much as it is to acknowledge their presence. (It's become well known over the years that once the playoffs begin a whole new set of unanswered questions will surface.)
And it's usually the team that has separated itself from or escaped all unanswered questions as the team left standing in the end.
Only their reasoning was vastly different.
Nash, under contract with the Lakers for next season for $9.7 million, is sure he will be back in Los Angeles. But after playing just 15 games this season because of persistent nerve root irritation in his back and hamstrings, the point guard doesn't know how effective he can be.
"They can't rely on me, frankly," said Nash, already the league's oldest active player at 40 years old. "Hopefully I come back and play 82 games next year and the sky's the limit, but they can't rely on me. We don't know what I'm going to bring."
Gasol, who will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his 13-year career come July 1, is sure he still has "another good five years" left to play. But with the Lakers currently employing a coach whose style doesn't suit his game and the team in the middle of a rebuild, the big man doesn't know how much he wants to remain a Laker.
"I'm going to listen closely to what the Lakers will have to offer and say about the team's situation and position at the time," Gasol said. "We know what it is today, but we don't know what it is going to be July 1. See how the draft is going to play out, who they are going to end up drafting. Things like that that can have an impact or an effect on the structure of the team."
Gasol also told Yahoo! Sports he would be open to reuniting with New York Knicks president Phil Jackson, who previously coached the Lakers to five NBA titles.
In the past, Bryant has resisted projects that demand an all-access look into his life, choosing to keep the methods behind his success mysterious. But with his career threatened by an Achilles injury last spring, and the knowledge that his time in the NBA is coming to an end within a few years, he changed his mind.
The feature-length documentary is executive produced by Bryant and director Gotham Chopra, whose work also includes an upcoming ESPN 30 for 30 film "The Little Master."
"As a lifelong Boston Celtics fan, never did I imagine I would collaborate with Laker great Kobe Bryant," Chopra said in a statement. "Kobe's quest for greatness transcends rivalries and I'm excited by his and Showtime's willingness to go down this rabbit hole together. I'm confident audiences will be intrigued by what comes out the other side."
Bryant has granted the production access to his daily life and private training sessions, which will intensify next week after he returns from an anniversary trip to Europe. He has also allowed the crew to follow him to business meetings as he prepares for life after basketball.
In an exclusive interview last month with ESPN.com's Darren Rovell, Bryant revealed that he has formed a company called Kobe Inc., and is building a team around him to start new businesses and evaluate investing in others. Bryant's first investment was with upstart sports drink Bodyarmor.
The rankings are based on sales during the season at NBAStore.com, figures that were released by the league on Thursday.
Despite playing in only six games this season, Kobe Bryant still finished third in jersey sales. Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who played in only 10 games, finished fourth, and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry rounded out the top five.
Thanks in part to James, who has finished with the top-selling jersey in six of his 11 seasons in the league, the Heat are the best-selling team. The Lakers, Knicks and Celtics finished second, fifth and sixth in merchandise sales, respectively, despite all missing the playoffs.
2 -- Pau Gasol passed Detlef Schrempf to become the second-highest scoring European player in NBA history (Dirk Nowitzki) with an 18-foot jumper against Brooklyn in November. Gasol finished the season with 16,576 points, ranking him 89th overall on the all-time scoring list.
3 -- The number of times the 40-point plateau was reached by a Lakers player this season with Jodie Meeks scoring 42 in a win against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Nick Young hitting for 40 and 41 in two games in April.
4 -- The number of eligible players the Lakers ended up with in a game against Cleveland after they had a limited roster because of injuries and after Chris Kaman and Robert Sacre fouled out.
7 -- Young had seven four-point plays this season, tying him with Kyle Korver for the NBA lead while setting a new Lakers franchise record.
8 -- The number of players to set new career-high scoring games for the Lakers this season including Meeks (42 points), Jordan Farmar (30), Jordan Hill (28), Xavier Henry (27), Ryan Kelly (26), Kent Bazemore (23), Kendall Marshall (20) and Sacre (15).
9 -- The Lakers failed to sell out Staples Center for nine of their 41 home games this season. Their streak of 320 consecutive sellouts (playoffs included) was snapped in November.
14 -- Marshall was second in the league with nine games of 14 assists or more this season. Chris Paul was first with 10.
19 -- L.A. set a franchise record for most 3-pointers in a regulation game, making 19 against the Sacramento Kings in February.
35 -- The number of different starting lineups the Lakers used in 82 games this season.
40 -- Steve Nash, the oldest active player in the league, turned 40 on Feb. 7, scoring a season-high 19 points during a 112-98 win over Philadelphia on his birthday.
48 -- The number of points the Lakers lost to the Clippers by in March, the biggest blowout loss in franchise history.
51 -- L.A. set a team record for points in a quarter, hanging 51 in the third quarter of a blowout win over the New York Knicks in March.
319 -- Lakers players missed 319 games combined because of injury this season, which led the NBA.
408 -- Over a three-game span in early March, the Lakers allowed New Orleans to score 132 points, the L.A. Clippers to score 142 points and Denver to score 134 points. The 408 points combined accounted for the most porous three-game stretch of defense the team has ever allowed.
10,335 -- Nash moved up to No. 3 on the all-time assists list by registering his 10,335th assist of his career, passing Mark Jackson.
$172,055 -- The amount of money Kobe Bryant made per minute played this season after only appearing in 177 minutes over six games.
You wouldn't know it from talking to Mike D'Antoni after the game. The coach stood in the cramped AT&T Center hallway outside the visitor's locker room looking as glum as Eeyore, sounding as beaten as an old rug.
It was beautiful basketball, a real life interpretation of the vision how D'Antoni believes the game is meant to be played.
And it cloaked D'Antoni in melancholy as it played out, making him wonder if this would be it for him. Maybe he should take it in one last time, make like Walter White as he revels in the perfect functionality of his lab equipment in his final moments.
It's no secret that his coaching seat has gotten mighty warm in the last couple of months. From the Lakers stumbling to a 27-55 record, the worst season in the history of the franchise since the team moved from Minneapolis to L.A., to Kobe Bryant -- whose relationship with the coach has deteriorated to the point where the two rarely speak to each another -- openly questioning whether D'Antoni should be retained or not, it wouldn't shock anyone if the Lakers showed him the door as they go into one of the most important summers they've ever had.
Yes, the Lakers owe D'Antoni $4 million for next season and yes, several Lakers players -- Jodie Meeks, Nick Young, Kent Bazemore, even Jordan Hill -- had career years playing in his system.
But sometimes there needs to be a scapegoat, and in a league that saw 12 of its head coaches fired last season -- including several who led their teams to the playoffs -- the coach is usually the one to go.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened?
Or in the Los Angeles Lakers' case, there were surely plenty of fans smiling Wednesday night because their dismal 2013-14 season is finally over.
They were a team that just couldn't get things right this season all the way to the bitter end, when all that was left to play for was draft seeding -- and they even messed that up with a two-game winning streak to finish things.
Before the Lakers knocked off the league's No. 1 team in the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday (albeit a Spurs team that did not dress Tim Duncan and played Tony Parker only 16 minutes), coach Mike D'Antoni was asked to reflect on the season that went awry.
"It’s something that -- we could have played better, obviously, but I don't know if we were good enough to win," D'Antoni said. "They tried their best. They were in a horrible situation. They were in a tough situation to start with, then it got horrible on them. But, I think overall, they competed."
For the nine guys still standing from the Lakers' 15-man roster, there was something to feel good about, at least knowing that they at least made their coach's claim ring true.
Time will tell just how much competing all the way to the end will hurt them when the draft lottery results are revealed next month, however.
How it happened: The Lakers saw their 13-point first-half lead disappear by intermission, but they were able to build their balloon back to 11 heading into the fourth. L.A. was able to keep its cushion large enough that MarShon Brooks played nine minutes in the final frame.
What it means: It's over. It's all over. The Lakers can only go up from here.
Hits: All five Lakers starters and eight of the nine players who got in the game overall scored in double digits, with Jordan Hill leading the charge with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Wesley Johnson (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Kendall Marshall (15 points, 11 assists) also chipped in with double-doubles.
L.A. had just nine turnovers.
Misses: Johnson shot just 5-for-17 from the field.
Stat of the game: 319. With both Steve Nash and Chris Kaman joining Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Kent Bazemore and Xavier Henry on the injured list for the season finale, the Lakers' season total for combined games missed because of injury rose to a staggering 319.
Up next: An offseason rife with question marks. What will become of D'Antoni? Where will their spot end up being in the draft lottery? Whom will they select with their pick? How many out of their 12 free agents will be back on the team next season? Will Bryant return healthy? How about Nash? Will he retire? What will the Lakers do with all that cap space they've hoarded? How long will it take for this franchise to get back on track?
The Lakers (27-55) are expected to look dramatically different next season after finishing with their worst record since moving to Los Angeles.
Kawhi Leonard had 14 points to lead San Antonio, which did not have anyone play more than 27 minutes. The Spurs (62-19) had an opportunity to match their best record, but opted to rest in preparation for defense of their conference title.