In what sure feels like eons of waiting for fans, the Los Angeles Lakers are taking their sweet time to sort things out as a serious rebuild continues after one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
What's the rush?
The last thing the Lakers want to do is to hurry through the process of bringing back their own free agents, attracting others, hiring a head coach and figuring out what in the world to do with a rare lottery pick.
So it makes sense that Los Angeles is plodding through the process a tad, but that pace ensures some juicy nuggets of info slip through the cracks. Here is the latest on the alleged happenings around the franchise.
Derek Fisher Remains in Play
The idea of former players assuming the mantle as head coaches is nothing new as of late thanks to names such as Steve Kerr and Jason Kidd, so it should come as no shock that one of the most memorable court generals of this past generation is the buzz in that regard at the moment.
That goes twofold for the notion of Derek Fisher joining the Lakers.
According to the New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence, Fisher spoke candidly after the Oklahoma City Thunders' playoff loss about his future and suggested coaching may be in the cards:
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.
Coincidentally, Fisher's slow timetable may coincide well with the clock the Lakers are using this offseason in regard to perhaps the most important move of all in front of the franchise.
Fisher has a great relationship with Kobe Bryant—who remains the focal point of the search, as the front office cannot afford to bring on someone who clashes with the aging star—so it makes sense that ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne suggests there will be contact sooner rather than later:
For the Lakers, Fisher is a must-have commodity. This is the player who calmed the waves between Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal so long ago. More recently, he helped tutor Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Fisher is also a coaching candidate who fits the bill of a defensive-minded coach who can mentor a rather young squad as a rebuild continues. While Fisher may want to keep playing or coach somewhere else, the allure of being back home in Los Angeles is sure to be strong.
With that in mind, don't be shocked if the Lakers apply a full-court press.
The Fate of the No. 7 Pick Remains Up in the Air
It is quite rare to see the Lakers clutch a lottery pick, but these are strange times we live in. They can't be labeled all that strange, though—Tim Duncan in the Finals and all.
Alas, no one can accurately predict what will happen with the No. 7 overall pick, especially when it sounds as if the Lakers are more than willing to part with the selection, per ESPN Insider Chad Ford (subscription required):
However, after pick No. 5 things are much more fluid. Sources say that the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns are all open to offers.
While picks No. 5-14 don't hold the same value as a top-4 pick in this draft (which explains why so many anonymous GMs are now suddenly praising the middle of the lottery and questioning whether there really is a top tier of four players) there still is a lot of talent at this point in the draft and a number of bad teams would love to get their hands on a second pick.
Shocker. In what is hailed as a relatively deep class, the Lakers may view it as beneficial to move down and grab more picks. That would allow the team to possibly nab an established starter in the process while still getting a strong prospect to build around later in the first round.
Like the coaching search, this riddle won't be solved anytime soon. It may very well wait until draft day itself, when a prospect the Lakers are in love with is taken before No. 7, prompting a deal.
Regardless, just know that the Lakers are adamant about doing whatever it takes to improve, including surrendering a lottery pick.