WASHINGTON, D.C.: For the first time in NBA history, the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks are all absent from the playoffs in the same season.
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.