Kevin de León, Will You Resign?

Column: Kevin de León says he’s sorry but won’t resign. Kevin, stop gaslighting L.A. fans. Photo: Michael Tran/WireImage

At our final meeting with Kevin de León, as we sat in the conference room with the cameras capturing the entire scene, I asked him point-blank, as he was known for being a “difficult coach” before he became one of the most polarizing figures in the NBA, “Will you resign?”

His answer was a big, “no.”

As you know, the question of whether Kevin should resign or remain with the Lakers was the subject of much online discussion, and rightfully so. Kevin has never been a fan of the social media era, which to him has made coaches too visible and all too easy to attack. That said, there was a sense that Kevin’s style had brought the Lakers to seven NBA championships in 12 NBA seasons. The question, of course, was whether the Lakers could sustain that level of success through the next eight seasons.

Kevin has never liked any of that. And, in fact, he is trying to tell us — and not just me — he wants this to go the way of the Lakers’ only championship, the 2011 one. He’s also refusing to work with a young coach, Mike Brown, he believes is underqualified and who wants to change his style to fit it with the Lakers’ roster, which is in total ruins after Kobe Bryant’s return, a few years after the franchise moved to Los Angeles from Seattle.

So, Kevin, as much as you may be trying to say you never want to work with this team again, you didn’t say that. You did say, “It was a very close call, but I don’t want to go against a longtime fan base that trusts me with what I want.”

Kevin is in a strange position. There is a popular idea around the league that Kevin has created this rift between himself and the fan support of the Lakers. It is a perception fueled by a small number of fans who have had enough, that has to be addressed and that, for the moment, will not be addressed by Kevin. We have to ask ourselves, though, is all this attention to

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