After coming off of a season in which the team recorded the most losses in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers prepared for a big offseason overhaul.
Things began when former head coach Mike D'Antoni resigned from his position with the team.
The head coaching position has been vacant for well over a month now, and many names have already been linked to the team. However, nothing has come of it.
Mark Jackson is one of those names, and according to a tweet from Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, he's still campaigning for the job:
Oh man when Mark Jackson campaigns for the Lakers job he REALLY campaigns.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) June 9, 2014
Well, according to a report from Sam Amick of USA Today, we finally know why Jackson—or anyone else—has yet to be hired:
The slow pace of the Lakers' coaching search that began April 30 when Mike D'Antoni resigned has been timed deliberately with the upcoming free agency period in the NBA, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Specifically, the idea that the Lakers could beat the odds and land the likes of the Heat's LeBron James, the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony or any of the other superstars who may be free agents on July 1 has led the Lakers to plod through their process so as to not limit their potential options. The person spoke to USA Today Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the search.
Bringing in names like James and Anthony would certainly be a major overhaul.
Los Angeles could certainly afford to bring in at least one of these top-tier free agents—especially if Paul Gasol leaves for free agency. Bringing in both may be tricky, but after tinkering with cap space, it could happen.
This is worth mentioning due to the possibility that Anthony and James could come as a package deal, according to Amick:
Yet according to two people with knowledge of the situation, Anthony's part in this fluid free agency situation is worth monitoring as James is known to be interested in eventually playing with his close friend. Anthony also has a player option on his deal for next season (worth $23.5 million), and his connection to James has teams like the Lakers, Knicks and even the Heat wondering whether he may be able to join the four-time NBA MVP. The people requested anonymity because of sensitive nature of free agency talk.
It's a long shot that Los Angeles could land both of these potential free agents, but even with slim odds, the team is making sure it is doing everything possible to keep its shot alive.
That brings us to the coaching search.
As Amick mentioned in his column, the Lakers have been rather deliberate in their search for a head coach due to the possibility of landing James and Anthony.
Getting the right person for the job will be crucial, as Los Angeles may not be as desirable of a destination as it once was after such a dismal season. James and Anthony will be looking to join a contender, not a team in rebuild mode.
Los Angeles is committed to waiting on a new head coach even through the draft, if necessary, according to a tweet from USA Today Sports NBA:
It's a possibility the Lakers could use the vacant head coach position to lure these free agents to Los Angeles by allowing them to have a say in who will officially assume the position.
Of course, how the 2014 NBA Finals play out could be a major factor in this scenario. If James and the Big Three win yet another title for Miami, he might be more inclined to stick around for another season.
Regardless, the Lakers are doing their due diligence. Keeping these options open certainly reflects the team's desire to right the ship and get back into contention for next season.