Looking back, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni acknowledged he walked into a "weird" situation last season, and the reasons went beyond inheriting an injury-laden roster without a training camp.
As told in published excerpts of her recently updated memoir, Jeanie Buss revealed frustration how the Lakers front office chose D'Antoni over Phil Jackson last season to become the team's next head coach.
"I never thought it was anything personal at all," D'Antoni said in a brief interview with this newspaper Thursday at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo. "That's just normal. I don't think you can avoid it. If I had been in that situation, I'd have felt the same way."
As first reported by Yahoo! Sports, Buss, the Lakers' president, has since met with D'Antoni and his wife, Laurel, over dinner expressing her support. Buss reiterated the same thing in an appearance Thursday on KSPN-710AM.
"I've gotten a chance to get to know coach D'Antoni," Buss said. "The guy wants to win. I love that about him."
Buss has allegiances to Jackson for obvious reasons. The two long-time companions became engaged last year and Jackson won five of his 11 NBA championships in two separate stints with the Lakers (1999-2004, 2005-11).
Buss, who has worked on the Lakers' business operations for the past 15 years, also suggested in her memoir that D'Antoni's hiring hurt her relationship with her brother Jim, the Lakers' vice president of player personnel. Jim and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak never publicly wavered in their support for D'Antoni.
"Last year, it was a tough year for everybody," said D'Antoni, referring to the Lakers' first-round exit to San Antonio and the passing of the late Lakers owner Jerry Buss in February due to an undisclosed form of cancer. "Now we're all like, 'Let's pull the boat.' We're all doing it. I never felt left out to dry. Mitch and Jim have been great and supported me. It's always been good, but now it's great."
Forward Nick Young sprained his right ankle during practice Thursday, making his playing status uncertain for the Lakers' first preseason game Saturday against the Golden State Warriors in Ontario.
Time Warner Cable SportsNet has expanded its on-air talent by adding former Lakers Byron Scott and Luke Walton. Scott won three NBA championships with the Lakers during the "Showtime Era," while Walton won two NBA titles with the Lakers' 2009 and 2010 teams.