17 People who turned their backs on the Los Angeles Lakers

These former Lakers did not leave on the best terms.
Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard
Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard / Harry How/GettyImages
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7. Mike D’Antoni

The Lakers hired D’Antoni as their head coach in 2012. Mike Brown began the season in the role but was fired after just five games. Los Angeles expected to contend for a championship with Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard leading their charge. D’Antoni was a veteran head coach who had success coaching the Seven Seconds or Less Suns. He was reunited with Steve Nash in LA, and the Lakers believed he could lead them to a championship.

Things did not go as planned. Nash and Pau Gasol struggled with injuries. Dwight Howard was not a superstar with the Lakers and struggled to mesh with Kobe. The Black Mamba was willing his team to the playoffs before tearing his Achilles late in the campaign. Los Angeles was swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Spurs and had serious future questions.

D’Antoni coached one more year but resigned in April 2014 after the Lakers refused to pick up an option in his contract for the 2015-16 season. Los Angeles was entering a rebuild, and D’Antoni wanted some assurances about his future. The franchise was unwilling to give them, and the veteran coach walked away.

Mike D’Antoni struggled with the Los Angeles Lakers. He proved himself again by coaching the Houston Rockets to four straight playoff runs from 2016 to 2020. He quickly turned his back on the Lakers when things went south, but the franchise needed a few years to rebuild after Kobe's injury.