After a disappointing season for the Los Angeles Lakers, head coach Mike D'Antoni has reportedly resigned, and there is already buzz around the association regarding the open coaching job.
Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding tweeted that the Lakers announced that the 62-year-old head coach resigned on Wednesday.
With a returning superstar in Kobe Bryant and a lot of cap space for this offseason, it's likely that several coaches could be interested in the new spot. Some names have already begun to make some noise, but it will apparently be a while before the the Lakers have decided on a new head coach.
According to Mike Bresnahan from the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers likely won't name a new head coach until May 20. As far as potential replacements go, Bresnahan tweeted that they're likely looking at a big name or a promising assistant that seems ready for the task.
Assuming the Lakers are able to hire a coach around that time, the new coach will have plenty of time to figure out which player he wants to take in the NBA draft. The Lakers will be looking for a high pick in the lottery, and the new head coach could have his choice of a pretty high draft pick.
There are a number of intriguing picks they could make, including someone like Indiana's Noah Vonleh if Pau Gasol doesn't come back. If Gasol does come back, then the Lakers may consider someone like Dante Exum, the talented guard from Australia.
If the Lakers are indeed looking for a big name coach, one of the names that could be in the mix is former Orlando Magic and Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, who last coached in 2012. However, according to Marc J. Spears form Yahoo Sports, Van Gundy doesn't appear to be planning on a comeback to the association.
Van Gundy had a strong 64.1 career win percentage, making it to the NBA finals in just his second year with the Magic during the 2008-09 season, losing to the Lakers.
While it would be expected that the Lakers would look somewhere else for D'Antoni's replacement, one name in the coaching buzz was recently within the organization. According to Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo Sports, former Lakers assistant Ettore Messina may be a potential candidate.
Messina has been a very successful Euroleague coach for several decades, but was previously an assistant with the Lakers when Mike Brown was head coach back in 2011 and 2012. If he indeed did have a good relationship with Kobe and management, he may very well be a natural fit to take the open job.
Considering how recently D'Antoni submitted his resignation, the rumors regarding the next head coach will continue to come in and spread, especially because of the history of the franchise. The next coach will hope that he can lure another superstar to the team this offseason, as they'll have some rebuilding to do.
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