The Los Angeles Lakers could've finished 0-82 last season, and they'd still have no shortage of interest in their open head coaching position. They're still the Lakers.
Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reported that the team won't rush into a decision right now:
The Lakers have still not reached out to any of the names they are considering, according to a team source familiar with the coaching search. They are expected to commence a preliminary round of phone interviews soon, but will not schedule any sit-down sessions until later in the month. ...
While it’s natural to assume the Lakers should have a sense of urgency about finding their coach -- particularly as other jobs open up around the league (Golden State, New York, Utah, Minnesota and, presumably, Detroit) -- the Lakers are in something resembling a high-stakes game of Texas hold ‘em.
They know what cards they’re holding: two aging future Hall of Famers in Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash under contract for close to $34 million for next season; a significant chunk of cap space beyond that; and, of course, the intangible asset of calling Southern California home -- plus a prestigious résumé as one of the most storied franchises in the league.
McMenamin pointed out that the team may wait until after the draft lottery and when some of the biggest stars opt out of their current contracts. If the Lakers can draft somebody like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid and/or sign Carmelo Anthony, then it changes things significantly.
Los Angeles already made the mistake of hiring one coach—Mike D'Antoni—whose style didn't fit the team at all. It wouldn't want to make the same mistake twice.
Just because the organization is holding off on hiring a new coach, it doesn't mean that it isn't creating a shortlist of favorites. By now, most fans have read the names linked with the Lakers.
Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reported back on May 5 that the team may have interest in Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie:
Ollie has only been at UConn for two years, though. He may be a bit wary of leaving his alma mater after such a short stint. He seems to genuinely enjoy coaching in the college ranks rather than view it as merely a stepping stone to his NBA aspirations.
RealGM's Shams Charania reported that Ollie may be waiting on a contract extension with the Huskies, and only in the absence of that would he pursue his NBA options:
Staying at the college level, the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan reported that North Carolina's Roy Williams might somewhat surprisingly be an option:
Speaking to Fox Sports Radio host J.T. The Brick, though, Williams said, "I’ve always felt that I’m a college coach and that’s where I belong," via Brett Friedlander of the Star-News.
Williams is 63 years old. You'd have to wonder if he would actually leave the college level altogether, even with the Carolina connection between himself and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.
Fans have seen this story before. Legendary college coach is linked with NBA team, only to stay at his current school. Mike Krzyzewski flirted with the Lakers a decade ago before choosing to stay in Durham. The Cleveland Cavaliers weirdly pursued Tom Izzo in 2010, only for him to remain at Michigan State.
The Lakers will likely have to look to the NBA ranks to find their next head man.
Stan Van Gundy is reportedly out, however, according to Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears. Van Gundy is eying up the Golden State Warriors, instead:
This is only the beginning of what will likely be a long, arduous road in order to find the most qualified head coaching candidate, given how much hinges on finding the right guy. The Lakers won't want to burn through another coach after the failures of D'Antoni and Mike Brown.
If Los Angeles wants to keep it in house, though, it could end this search already. Give it to Nick Young:
The Lakers probably wouldn't win a lot of games with Swaggy P, but they'd be a lot of fun to watch.
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