Marshall inquires with Mike D'Antoni

ByJeff Goodman and Marc Stein ESPN logo
Thursday, March 27, 2014

Marshall has reached out to Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni to gauge his interest in coaching his alma mater, according to sources close to the process.

Sources told that the Thundering Herd have pursued D'Antoni before and made this latest inquiry -- which coincides with his uncertain future in Los Angeles -- because they "always sound him out" any time Marshall has an opening in a bow to D'Antoni's stature in school history.

But sources stressed D'Antoni is highly unlikely to make such a switch even if the Lakers opt for a coaching change at season's end. Although he has served as an unofficial sounding board for school officials in the past, D'Antoni has coached only at the pro level, with three stops in Italy and stints with the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Lakers in the NBA.

With the Lakers playing in Milwaukee on Thursday night, D'Antoni could not be immediately reached for comment.

D'Antoni played for the Thundering Herd from 1970 to '73, and was selected in the second round of the 1973 NBA draft. His brother, Dan, also played and coached at the school before serving on Mike's staffs with both the Suns and Lakers.

Marshall is looking to replace Tom Herrion, who was fired after posting a 67-67 mark in four seasons.

The injury-ravaged Lakers entered Thursday's play at 24-46. They went 40-32 last season after D'Antoni replaced Mike Brown early in the 2012-13 campaign, but numerous injuries and in-house tensions during Dwight Howard's lone season as a Laker led to a first-round sweep at the hands of San Antonio.

In a recent appearance on "The Dan Patrick Show," amid speculation that he has been disenchanted with D'Antoni's spread-the-floor approach, Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant said: "I don't know [if D'Antoni should return]. It's been tough on him. The two years he's been here, he's been dealing with so many injuries left and right. He hasn't really gotten a fair shake at it since he's been here."

D'Antoni has two seasons left on his Lakers contract but only next season is guaranteed. When pressed recently about his future, D'Antoni told local reporters: "My job is to finish up as good as we can. Then everybody huddles ... and we'll see what happens."