Updates from Wednesday, July 16
Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News reports on what the Lakers discussed with Byron Scott during Wednesday's meeting:
Byron Scott's interview concluded with Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss. League source said Scott went over personnel, but no offer made— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) July 16, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, July 15
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA reports on a head coaching candidate the Lakers plan to meet with tomorrow:
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss will meet w/ Byron Scott again tomorrow, according to sources.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 16, 2014
Updates from Monday, June 30
Sam Amick of USA Today provides the latest update on the Lakers search for their next head coach now that the Nets are also looking for a new coach:
As the Nets plan to fly frontrunner Lionel Hollins into Brooklyn in the next day or two, I'm told Lakers are showing a revived interest.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 30, 2014
Lakers showing interest in having another meeting regarding Hollins later this week. At this rate with Nets, they may need to hurry.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 30, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, June 24
ESPN's Chris Broussard has the latest on the Lakers' coaching search:
Byron Scott frontrunner for Lakers job. Has been talking w/Kobe in coach/player terms. Magic, Worthy, MCooper advocating 4 him w /Busses.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 24, 2014
ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne has more:
Talks with the former Nets and Cavaliers coach have not progressed to the contract stage, as the Lakers continue to weigh whether to hold off on hiring a coach before they make their pitches to free agents.
The possibility of soliciting opinions of free agents before making a hire is a large part of the reason the Lakers have taken such a deliberate approach to their coaching search since Mike D'Antoni resigned after the season.
Scott, former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, former Suns coach Alvin Gentry and former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy have had formal interviews with general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president of player personnel Jim Buss.
Updates from Tuesday, June 10
Broussard reports the Lakers interviewed one potential candidate for the second time Tuesday:
Sources: 2day Byron Scott met with Lakers for 2nd time to discuss head coaching position. Scott is only coach so far to have 2 interviews— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 11, 2014
Updates from Friday, June 6
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times passed along the latest development in the Lakers' head coaching search:
The Lakers have decided they need a coach with previous NBA coaching experience, which means one thing for Derek Fisher: He isn't a candidate.
The Lakers think Fisher will be a solid NBA coach or executive at some point, but their initial curiosity about him has been replaced by a desire for actual experience, the latest turn in a deliberately slow coaching search approaching the six-week mark.
Updates from Monday, June 2
Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News reports on a potential candidate's recent interaction with the Lakers front office:
Can confirm @ramonashelburne nugget that George Karl talked with Mitch Kupchak— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 3, 2014
George Karl hasn't had an interview w/ Lakers yet. Just had an informal phone conversation w/ Mitch Kupchak— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 3, 2014
Updates from Monday, May 26
Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times notes a former head coach is receiving interest from the Lakers regarding the team's vacant head coaching position:
Add Clippers associate head coach Alvin Gentry to the list of candidates the Lakers plan on interviewing for their head-coaching vacancy, The Times has learned. ...
... The Lakers became more interested in talking with Gentry after speaking with several coaches and executives who raved about Gentry’s offensive philosophy, according to one executive.
Gentry, the offensive coach for the Clippers, was credited with helping the Clippers become the top-scoring team in the NBA during the regular season.
Updates from Wednesday, May 21
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports provides an update on a candidate for Los Angeles' coaching vacancy:
Sources: Mike Dunleavy, Sr., interviews for Lakers coaching job with GM Mitch Kupchak. http://t.co/YcSxrTjGD6— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 21, 2014
Later in the day, ESPN's Chris Broussard reported the Lakers interviewed another candidate and familiar face for the position:
Sources: Lakers interviewed Byron Scott for vacant head coaching position yesterday.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) May 22, 2014
Updates from Friday, May 9
The Chicago Tribune reports UNC's Roy Williams confirmed Wednesday (via Fox Sports Radio) that he's not interested in coaching the Lakers:
I've always felt like that I'm a college coach and that's where I belong. (Lakers general manager) Mitch Kupchak is one of my best friends in the whole wide world, there's no question there, but I'm a college guy and if somebody calls and offers me the greatest job in the world, it better be really good because I feel like I've got about the greatest job in the world.
Updates from Wednesday, May 7
Nick Young jokingly volunteered his services to the Lakers:
I'll be the new coach— Nick Young (@NickSwagyPYoung) May 7, 2014
Inside Carolina reports that Roy Williams is happy where he is:
RoyW tells @JTTheBrick on Lakers interest: "I've always felt like I'm a college coach and that's where I belong."— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) May 8, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, May 6
Bill Reiter of Fox Sports has the latest on the team's coaching search:
Source close to Kevin Ollie says he plans to visit with Lakers in coming weeks about head-coaching job. Meeting not yet set up but expected.— Bill Reiter (@foxsportsreiter) May 6, 2014
Source tells me Ollie plans to stay at Connecticut but wants to just listen to Lakers/have conversation about the opening.— Bill Reiter (@foxsportsreiter) May 6, 2014
The Golden State Warriors fired coach Mark Jackson later Tuesday, and Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com speculates on if the Lakers would be interested in hiring him:
As I reported last week, Lakers were closely monitoring playoffs to see what coaches would be let go. Mark Jackson is a candidate for LAL— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 6, 2014
Updates from Monday, May 5
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times added another name to the coaching list:
Another name to add to the Lakers' list of coaching candidates: North Carolina's Roy Williams. They plan on talking to him...eventually.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) May 5, 2014
Updates from Friday, May 2
Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding talked about the odds of some of the top candidates for the job:
Updates from Thursday, May 1
Kentucky head coach John Calipari has reiterated his commitment to the program after being mentioned by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times as a potential candidate to fill the Lakers' vacant head coaching position:
Before it starts, I'm totally committed to helping this group of young men reach their dreams. I wouldn't & couldn't leave this group!— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) May 1, 2014
ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne added more on potential targets:
The Los Angeles Lakers plan a drawn-out and exhaustive search to replace coach Mike D'Antoni, but sources close to the process insist that they hope to "make a splash" with their eventual hire.
To that end, sources say, Lakers officials intend to reach out to two of the biggest names in the college game -- UConn's Kevin Ollie and Kentucky's John Calipari -- to at least gauge their interest in the job. ...
The Lakers' immediate aims, sources say, are to focus on the draft and free agency and "hold back (on the coaching front) until they get a better sense of the marketplace."
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times broke down a list of candidates for the job:
Lakers will interview George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy, Byron Scott and Rambis for coaching vacancy. Also, as reported earlier, Calipari + Ollie— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) May 1, 2014
Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com had more information on a big name the Lakers reportedly plan to pursue as part of their coaching search:
The Lakers plan to reach out to the Chicago Bulls for permission to interview Tom Thibodeau, a league source tells http://t.co/8DsJGhr2Pi— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 1, 2014
Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News later reported Ollie's interest level in the job:
Source: Kevin Ollie will listen to Lakers' likely interest, but "real committed" to UConn http://t.co/rMW4M4L91H— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 1, 2014
Via Medina, Mike Dunleavy Sr. said Thursday on his SiriusXM NBA Radio show that he would be intrigued by the job:
If I had an opportunity to interview with them I would definitely be interested. I had a great run there when I coached in the '90s. ...
It's one of the premier jobs, if not the premier job in the league. They've got Kobe Bryant still on their team and he'll be back next year healthy and I think he can play at a very high level. They've got cap space to use this summer to work on the team.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in the market for a new head coach after Mike D'Antoni's resignation Wednesday.
According to the team's official Twitter account, no time will be wasted in the front office's search for a successor:
Although no timetable has been established, the search for a replacement will begin immediately.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 1, 2014
A source told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne that D'Antoni's departure was imminent, and general manager Mitch Kupchak praised the job D'Antoni did, per CBSSports.com's Ken Berger:
Mike D'Antoni has resigned as Lakers coach, source tells ESPN— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 1, 2014
"Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did," Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) May 1, 2014
Kupchak's take is rather accurate, because the D'Antoni era never really got off the ground in the City of Angels. D'Antoni has taken on ambitious reclamation projects since his successful stint with the Phoenix Suns. The coach's previous gig at the helm of the New York Knicks also led to him resigning.
TWC SportsNet and Sam Amico of Fox Sports spoke about Byron Scott's candidacy:
#Lakers well aware of Byron Scott's strong interest in being next coach, source says, and without question on radar as potential candidate.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) May 1, 2014
Ben Higgins of 10 News reported Steve Kerr has interest in discussing the Lakers' head coaching job:
SOURCE: @SteveKerrTNT would be interested in speaking to the Lakers about their now vacant head coaching position.— Ben Higgins (@BenHigginsSD) May 1, 2014
Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears revealed another coach with interest in the position:
ex-NBA coach Lionel Hollins has interest in the Lakers head coach opening, a source said. Hollins coached Memphis to West Finals last season— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 1, 2014
Spears mentioned a high-profile name that's being quiet for now:
LAC coach Doc Rivers has no thoughts about Lakers coach opening at this time, a source said. He has expressed uncertainty about LAC post DS.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 1, 2014
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski speculated on a possible candidate if the Lakers decide to scour the college ranks:
Possible there won't be a superstar coach available to Lakers, but there's a hometown kid on fast-track to become one: UConn's Kevin Ollie.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 1, 2014
Injuries plagued the Lakers during a 2013-14 campaign that saw ironman superstar Kobe Bryant play in just six games, while he and D'Antoni didn't seem to see eye to eye regardless of injury. The catalyst for D'Antoni's uptempo offense in Phoenix, two-time league MVP Steve Nash, has been hampered by health issues as his career winds down, and he wasn't able to make it work as LA's floor general.
Wojnarowski alluded to another potential option to lead the team next in PBC CSKA Moscow coach Ettore Messina:
A candidate Lakers management and Kobe Bryant share a fondness: Euro legend Ettore Messina. He impressed as assistant under Mike Brown.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 1, 2014
Former BYU college player Travis Hansen played for Messina in Europe and discussed what the Italian coach brings to the table, per Dick Harmon of the Deseret News:
He’s got a high basketball IQ, he’s structured, confident, strategic, personable and demanding. ... He was pretty laid back during the preseason, watching, learning, analyzing things. He looked at talent, figured out what direction he wanted to take the team, who fit in what role, and after about three weeks coaching started.
Messina is demanding, but he believes in players. If he signs you, it is because he thinks you are one of the best. He demands you to play to the best of your abilities. He gives you the ball and expects those who can deliver to deliver. Strategically, he’s great all-around, but he’s the best in the fourth quarter.
It’s always up to the players to make plays, but when the game is on the line he knows where the ball has to go and how to get it there.
It's not that the big-market glare was too much for D'Antoni to handle so much as he lacked players to work with. In the right situation, he should still be able to coach somewhere, but this Lakers job just wasn't a good fit.
A lot of turmoil has transpired for this storied NBA franchise in the tenures of Mike Brown and D'Antoni since Phil Jackson left the bench in 2011. Spears alluded to this in outlining D'Antoni's overall lack of on-court results:
The next Lakers head coach will be their fourth since 2011. D’Antoni,who was hired to replace Mike Brown on Nov 12, 2012, had a 67-87 record— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 1, 2014
Retired Lakers legend Magic Johnson certainly welcomed D'Antoni's departure:
Happy days are here again! Mike D'Antoni resigns as the Lakers coach. I couldn't be happier!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 1, 2014
But the problems for LA extend beyond the coaching staff, and Johnson's criticism is a microcosm of the dysfunction going on at the moment in Laker Nation. This is a squad with a severe lack of talent and security for the future. Per HoopsHype.com, only Bryant, Nash and Robert Sacre are locked in to contracts next season.
The often out-of-control, shoot-first-ask-later Nick Young has a player option, while point guard Kendall Marshall has a team option, so that doesn't guarantee he'll be in the fold.
Absent many marquee free agents on the market this offseason—save for Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who has expressed a desire to stay in the Big Apple—the Lakers coaching job isn't an attractive one at the moment.
Unless the Miami Heat's trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decide to exercise their early termination options like Anthony, free agency should be pretty dry. Despite the lure of a championship legacy, injuries and age are serious red flags for Nash and Bryant, and there isn't much else to work with in LA.
On the other hand, an ambitious, strong-willed coach could be bent on restoring the Lakers to prominence, rejuvenate both Bryant and Nash and have the chance to build the roster his own way. There is far more cap flexibility this offseason for Kupchak and co., but before personnel can be decided upon, someone has to coach this team.
Finding a strong candidate to endure what will likely be another year of hardship in a deep Western Conference won't be easy. However, the pull Los Angeles tends to have and the promise of what's to come when the Lakers do turn it around could be too tempting to pass up.
It didn't end well for D'Antoni. If Messina can't be the messiah, perhaps another worthy boss can lift the Lake Show out of its collective funk.