Following one of the most disappointing campaigns in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers are set to begin a summer filled with even more uncertainty than the last.
The "Dwightmare" may be over for the Lake Show, but the team still finds itself at a crossroads. Littered with aging stars and currently without a head coach, the Lakers are a team in transition. And in a loaded Western Conference, that's bad news.
Perhaps some good news is on the way. Below, we'll take a closer look at some of the latest rumors swirling around L.A.
Nick Young Looking to Test Market?
According to Basketball Insiders' Lang Greene, a source close to Lakers forward Nick Young says that he would prefer to be back with L.A. next season. But that doesn't mean the 29-year-old will pick up his $1.2 million player option for 2014-15:
However, the source fully believes Young will elect to opt out of his deal this summer in order to fully evaluate his options on the free agent circuit in July.
According to the source, the purpose of opting out of his deal would be driven by the desire to lock up a more lucrative long term contract with the Lakers. But at the end of the day anything can happen during free agency and that’s where keeping all options open has importance.
Young led the Lakers in scoring last season, averaging a career-high 17.9 points in 28.3 minutes per night, but he did so while shooting just 43.5 percent from the floor.
Nonetheless, Young is a dangerous outside shooter and a player who can provide explosive moments and scoring for L.A. off the bench. Therefore, you can expect him to garner plenty of interest this July.
With a slew of aging veterans on the roster and uncertainty on the sideline, bringing back Young will in all likelihood be a top priority for the Lakers front office this summer. And while L.A. has a lot to offer the veteran swingman, big money and the opportunity to win could potentially lure him away from Hollywood.
Alvin Gentry, Derek Fisher on L.A.'s Radar?
It's been more than a month since Mike D'Antoni resigned as Lakers head coach April 30, yet L.A. still finds itself in search of a new leader.
While a handful of names have been mentioned as potential targets, it's difficult to know who the front office has its sights set on this summer. The challenging task of turning the Lakers around has also no doubt impacted L.A.'s search, as pointed out by sports manager Nate Jones:
This 2 year period w/ the Lakers juggling Kobe and concern for the future could end up being a huge mess. How many Kobe post ups a night?— Nate Jones (@JonesOnTheNBA) May 21, 2014
Los Angeles Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry is one of the names apparently on the Lakers' radar. According to the Los Angeles Daily News' Mark Medina last week, sources close to the situation say Gentry interviewed for the vacant position by phone and was scheduled to meet with general manager Mitch Kupchak and the team's executive vice president of basketball operations, Jim Buss.
Which coaching candidate makes the most sense for L.A.?
In addition to Byron Scott and Mike Dunleavy, Medina reports that sources close to the Lakers say the team planned to interview former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins late last week.
One name that will be popular with Lakers fans, Derek Fisher, has also been linked to the Lakers' vacancy. But according to the New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence, Fisher is unlikely to return to L.A.
"The Lakers have limited interest, according to sources, only because Fisher has a close relationship with Kobe Bryant."
Despite the rumors that he's poised to enter the next chapter of his basketball career, the soon-to-be 40-year-old Fisher wasn't ready to commit to anything following the Oklahoma City Thunder's playoff exit Saturday night, per Lawrence:
I’m not going to rush. I’m not going to be emotional. Tonight, it’s still about the Thunder. I feel bad we couldn’t keep it going. I don’t think, based on the emotions I’m feeling right now, it’s smart to start betting on what I’m going to do next. I definitely will consider it (coaching) seriously and consider my options about what’s best and go from there. I’ll try to do that as soon as possible because all parties want to get an answer.
Given the success Jason Kidd experienced in his first-ever season as an NBA head coach, Lakers fans would likely jump for joy at a potential Fisher hiring, but it's clear the front office has a handful of options on the table at this point.
It's anyone's guess as to which direction L.A. will go as it braces for the next era, but there's no question the Lakers' lengthy coaching search is nearing its end.
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