The Los Angeles Lakers have no intention of canning Mike D’Antoni, but the supporting cast around the beleaguered head coach could change drastically this offseason.
Due to number of vacant head coaching positions around the league and throughout the college ranks, the star-studded assistant staff in L.A. will garner some serious consideration from a number of suitors over the spring and summer.
Eddie Jordan, an associate to D’Antoni last season and former head coach of the Kings, Wizards and 76ers, has already been poached by Rutgers—the first of possibly many defections from D’Antoni’s 2012-13 stable of talented coaches.
Bobcats have asked for and received permission to interview Lakers assistant Steve Clifford for the head coaching position.— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) May 3, 2013
If they lose him, expect the Lakers to bolster their already ongoing efforts to find more defensive-oriented assistants to complement their offensive-minded head coach.
However, McMillan is a hot name on the coaching carousel this spring and is a strong choice to land one of the numerous openings. It’s highly likely he would choose a potential head coaching gig over an assistant job, even if it's with the Lakers.
The other name that is being thrown about is Alvin Gentry, former head coach of the Phoenix Suns and longtime assistant under D’Antoni during his time in the desert.
However, Gentry has also interviewed for the Bobcats gig and may not be available as an assistant for the 2013-14 campaign.
Regardless of who the team chooses, they need to have a strong defensive background and the iron will to teach their system to a group of superstar players that may not want to learn.
Will hiring a defensive assistant help sway Dwight Howard to return?
However, it’s imperative that the Lakers—who allowed 101.0 points per game in 2012-13—improve on that end of the floor. This team will not return to championship form unless it is capable of locking down the opposition and getting stops when it needs them.
If Dwight Howard re-signs this summer as an unrestricted free agent, the main piece will already be in place for one of the coaches to build a defensive system around.
It’s not going to be easy, but L.A. has to swing for the fences and bring in an ambitious coach who is willing to get this group of superstars to D up.