The Los Angeles Lakers' search for a new head coach is getting real.
Former Phoenix Suns head coach and current Los Angeles Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry can now be added to the list of potential Mike D'Antoni replacements, according to the Los Angeles Times' Broderick Turner. An interview is expected to take place sometime on Wednesday between Gentry and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president Jim Buss.
Gentry has also been linked to the vacant Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz positions. Per Turner, the Lakers sought out his services after "speaking with several coaches and executives who raved about Gentry’s offensive philosophy."
Credit is well deserved there. It was Gentry who replaced D'Antoni in Phoenix and was able to keep the Suns offense flowing. During his four full seasons at the helm, they never ranked below ninth in offensive efficiency.
The veteran sideline-wanderer is also recognized as a key part of the Clippers' offensive success this season. Head coach Doc Rivers is known more for implementing defense, yet Gentry's work helped them lead the NBA in offensive efficiency throughout the regular season.
There isn't too much to make of Gentry getting face time with the Lakers, though. They've been open about their intention to meet with a variety of candidates before making a decision.
"I would not anticipate hiring a coach in the next two to three weeks, but we'll interview several, more than three to four probably...we have begun," Kupchak said previously, via ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi.
To date, the Lakers have been linked most heavily to Byron Scott, Mike Dunleavy and Lionel Hollins.
Dunleavy, who most recently coached the Clippers during the 2009-10 campaign, has already met with the Lakers as well, per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. But as Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley explains, he might not be the best fit for this team:
The Lakers have an aging backcourt riddled by injury concerns (Bryant, Steve Nash). The only other player with a contract for next season (Robert Sacre) has a career player efficiency rating of 10.8 (league average is 15.0).
It could take a while to right this ship.
L.A. needs to find a coach who’s in it for the long haul. With both the clock and a lackluster track record working against him, Dunleavy doesn’t seem to be that guy.
Who would be the best replacement for Mike D'Antoni?
Though Hollins has yet to interview with Los Angeles, Wojnarowski says that will happen sometime in the near future. One year removed from coaching the Memphis Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals, he is the most aesthetically appealing of all current candidates.
If the Lakers wish to inject more offensive potency into their blueprint, Gentry should emerge as a serious coaching prospect. That being said, a lot of his philosophies are derived from D'Antoni's offensive system, which didn't work out so well for the aging Lakers.
Without knowing what the Lakers roster will look like next season, is he the man for the job?
This early in the process, before even sitting down with the team, not even the Lakers can answer that.