Lakers, Knicks, Celtics miss playoffs, seek help
Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers on March 6, 2014 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California - by Robyn Beck
While that will not break any hearts for the 16 clubs who begin their championship quests this weekend, it does leave three of the most iconic franchise in NBA history struggling in search of a new direction.
"As a whole, the season was very disappointing for everybody," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "It's time to step away from it a little bit, reflect, get back together and get back to it."
The Lakers went 27-55, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005 and only the sixth season in team history.
The Celtics finished 25-57 in a year that was designed to be a rebuilding campaign after Boston let coach "Doc" Rivers leave for the Los Angeles Clippers and traded stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn.
"Everything matters and we talk about that as a team," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "The rallying cry going into the offseason is every little thing that you do matters.
"Bottom line is we’re all shooting for something and every single day and every single effort you put into it matters toward achieving it."
The Knicks finished 37-45, one game behind Atlanta for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth, but began a turnaround by hiring 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson as their new decision maker.
Chief upon his to-do list is decide the fate of Knicks coach Mike Woodson and learn if playmaker Carmelo Anthony will return. If he does, the Knicks salary commitments to top players will likely delay a total roster rebuild for another season.
- 'Time to flip the pages' -
D'Antoni expects no job security after a tough year in a league where even successful coaches get axed if not deemed successful enough given the resources and talent available.
"Every coach should be under scrutiny," D'Antoni said. "That's true even if everything is going well. You reflect on it. You want to do a better job.
"You try to get on the same page. Just what this is hasn't been decided. Our job is 'What could we have done better?' Things don't always go smoothly. Some things had to break right and they never did."
Injuries to Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant dimmed the Lakers' hopes from the start.
"We could never get that full array of people together at the same time. It happens. It's time to flip the pages and go on. In a few weeks we'll all get on the same page, whatever that page is."
The Lakers won five titles in 11 seasons from 2000-2010 under Jackson after a run of five titles in the 1980s, another back in 1972 and three more in the 1950s when the Lakers were based in Minneapolis.
The Knicks, who lost the first three NBA Finals from 1951-1953, won their only NBA titles in 1970 and 1973 although they twice reached the championship series in the 1990s.
The Celtics won a record 17th title in 2008 and fell to the Lakers in the 2010 final. Boston captured three crowns in the 1980s, two more in the 1970s and 11 of 13 from 1957-1969.