Lakers Search for a New Coach: Latest Rumors & Updates

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 9, 2012

After the Los Angeles Lakers fired coach Mike Brown on Friday after a 1-4 start, the question now becomes, "who takes over the team?"

You'd have to think the Lakers have someone in mind after axing Brown, but knowing the Lakers organization these days, that is not certain.

UPDATE: Sunday, Nov. 11 at 12:25 p.m. ET by Adam Wells

While Phil Jackson appears to be the team's first choice, the Lakers are making contingency plans on the off-chance that the legendary head coach decides to stay retired. 

According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers will talk to Mike Dunleavy about their coaching vacancy. 

Lakers meeting w/ Dunleavy today. He coached them for 2 yrs in 90s + Clips for 7 yrs 'til 2010. Dunleavy, McMillan, D'Antoni = back-up plans

— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 11, 2012

Dunleavy's stint with the Lakers from 1990-92 had mixed results. In his first season he coached the team to the NBA Finals, losing to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. His second season saw the Lakers finish 43-39 and get knocked out in the first round of the postseason. 

All of the drama will likely end, one way or the other, on Monday. According to Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News, Jackson "could be in place by Monday, according to league sources..."

Of course, once the coaching drama ends, the on-court drama picks up right where it left off when Mike Brown was fired. 



UPDATE: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7:15 p.m. by Ben Chodos

Phil Jackson returning to the Lakers is becoming increasingly more likely. 

Sam Amick of USA Today reported the following on Los Angeles' coaching search:

As if the indications weren't strong enough that Phil Jackson was the Los Angeles Lakers' top target to replace fired coach Mike Brown, they grew stronger on Saturday.

A person close to Jackson told USA TODAY Sports via text message Saturday afternoon, "It will get done barring something very significant."

Jackson is the ideal candidate to replace Mike Brown, and the legendary former Lakers coach would be warmly welcomed back to L.A.

---End of Update--- 

UPDATE: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 5:28 p.m. by Mike Shiekman

Now that the Lakers' brass have pitched to Phil Jackson, the organization will play "wait and see" and shore up their backup options, the LA Times' Mike Bresnahan reports:

Bernie Bickerstaff will coach Lakers game Sunday vs. SAC. The Lakers will also interview a couple coaches in case Phil J. doesn't take job.

— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 10, 2012


While Jackson certainly remains in play, the Lakers need to have other candidates a phone call away if they don't consider Bickerstaff as their long-term option.

24 hours after firing Mike Brown, the Lakers finally started to think about "Life without Phil". Keep checking here for more updates on this story.

--End of Update--

UPDATE: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 3:09 p.m. by Tyler Conway

Though the Lakers seem to be working exclusively on bringing Phil Jackson back at this juncture, there are some slight snags in the negotiations. According to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, the main 

A "couple more steps" to be addressed before agreement can be reached on Phil Jackson's return to Lakers, league source tells @cbssports.

— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) November 10, 2012


One issue believed to be Jackson's disdain for circus-like NBA travel. He and team had discussed unorthodox remedies in the past.

— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) November 10, 2012


Considering the health problems Jackson had during his time in Los Angeles, this is an understandable concern. Lakers fans just have to hope that it's not concerning enough to keep him off the bench.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 2:28 p.m. by Matt Fitzgerald

Yahoo! NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowksi tweets the latest on the Lakers' coaching situation. Phil Jackson—and Phil Jackson exclusively—is involved:

As Lakers meet w/ Phil Jackson today, they've declined meetings w/ any other candidates, source says. "They're all in on Phil," source says.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) November 10, 2012


A return by the Zen Master seems almost inevitable, considering the Lakers are closing the door to any other coaching candidates at this time. An 11-time NBA champion as a head coach, Jackson is an ideal fit, since he has as good of a track record as any of juggling multiple superstar egos.

He'll have plenty of that to do in LA, but he will also have the opportunity to get Steve Nash and Dwight Howard over the hump and guide them to their first title.

--End of Update---


UPDATE: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 12:57 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway

Start chilling your champagne bottles, Lakers fans, as it's looking like the messiah will be returning to Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, a source is "95 percent" sure that Phil Jackson will return to the Lakers' bench:


Lakers are moving quickly to hire Phil Jackson, one person in the organization calling it "95%" sure PJ's the next coach of the Lakers.

— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 10, 2012


---End of Update---

UPDATE: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 11:53 a.m. ET by Tyler Conway

While the a source told CSN Bay Area's Ric Bucher, that the possibility that Phil Jackson could return is "strong," there could be one massive snag in negotiations: The legendary coach wants Jim Buss to relinquish personnel reins.

Via CSN Bay Area:

There is a scenario in which former Lakers coach Phil Jackson would consider returning for a third stint with the team, sources said late Friday, but it will require executive VP Jim Buss once again relinquishing the organizational reins – and this time handing them to Jackson, rather than back to GM Mitch Kupchak.

With turmoil already bountiful in Los Angeles, Buss would be smart to make this happen. Jackson is the only coach available who could fully command the respect of the locker room and help justify firing Brown so early in the season.

---End of Update---

UPDATE: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 12:52 a.m. ET

The Lakers couldn't even wait until Saturday morning to contact Phil Jackson according to Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times:

The Lakers have officially contacted Phil Jackson to gauge his interest in coaching them, The Times has learned.

— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) November 10, 2012

Sounds like the coaching search won't be lasting very long if Jackson is indeed interesting in coming back to LA's bench. 


--- End of Update ---


UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 9 at 9:32 p.m. ET

Looks like Phil Jackson is under consideration, after all. 

Marc Stein of ESPN tweeted on Friday:

RT @ramonashelburne: Lakers expected to reach out Phil Jackson, Mike D'Antoni as soon as Saturday -

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) November 10, 2012



--- End of Update ---

UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 9 at 9:20 p.m. ET

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported on Friday that Brian Shaw is not a possibility at the moment. Sorry, Bill Plaschke:

The Lakers have not reached out to the Pacers about the possibility of hiring associate head coach Brian Shaw, league sources tell Y!

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) November 10, 2012


--- End of Update ---


UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 9 at 6:33 p.m. ET

Does Magic Johnson have the charm to bring Phil Jackson back to Los Angeles?

Chris Broussard of ESPN tweeted on Friday:

Magic Johnson desperately wants Phil Jackson to return as Lakers coach.

— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 9, 2012



--- End of Update ---


UPDATE: Friday, Nov. 9 at 5:15 p.m. ET

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times said he'd like Brian Shaw to take over, but conceded the favorite is Mike D'Antoni at this point:

My personal pick for new Laker coach is BShaw, but Buss already blown him off once..D'Antoni is favorite, just what defenseless team needs

— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) November 9, 2012


Is that sarcasm I detect?

Don't rule out former Los Angeles Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, though. 

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register tweeted:

Mike Dunleavy was on the Lakers' list before Mike Brown was hired and is expected to be a candidate again.

— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) November 9, 2012


--- End of Update ---


Chris Broussard of ESPN offered up a tasty nugget on Friday:

Source says Mike D'Antoni would be interested in Lakers job, that he'd listen.

— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) November 9, 2012


D'Antoni, who coached Steve Nash when he was with the Phoenix Suns, has been widely considered a possible replacement in L.A. Especially considering, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers apparently fired Brown because of the offense.

D'Antoni's seven-seconds-or-less offense would make the most use of Nash's abilities, but that doesn't change the fact that the Lakers have struggled on defense.

Los Angeles has allowed opponents to shoot 44.7 percent from the floor this season, 20th in the NBA. While they held the Utah Jazz to under 100 points in their 95-86 loss on Wednesday, the Jazz also shot 44.6 percent from the field.

On offense, the Lakers are actually shooting 47 percent from the floor, ranked fifth in the NBA, but they are also averaging 18.2 turnovers, second-most in the league. Interestingly enough, Kobe Bryant (4.4) and Dwight Howard (3.8) lead the team in turnovers per game.

Part of the problem is that opponents are fouling Howard at an alarming rate (he leads the league with 12.8 free-throw attempts per game). Howard is shooting 50 percent from the "charity stripe" this season.

Stay tuned to Bleacher Report for more updates surrounding the Lakers' coaching search.


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