Lakers Rumors: L.A. Smart to Chase Next Superstar Before Hiring Head Coach

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 23, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Chris Paul #13, Carmelo Anthony #15, LeBron James #6, Kevin Love #11, Kobe Bryant #10 and Kevin Durant #5 of the US Men's Senior National Team celebrates against Spain during their Men's Gold Medal Basketball Game on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

Without a question, head coaches are important in the NBA, but grabbing the next face of a franchise on the court is more important. The Los Angeles Lakers seem to realize that.

Per Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, the Lakers are holding up the hiring of their next leader on the sidelines until they know if they can land any of the three big offseason prizes.

Amick writes:

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. 

With Kobe Bryant coming back from a slew of injuries and set to turn 36 years old before the start of the season, the Lakers need to grab players who can carry the torch.

Alan Diaz/Associated Press

Part of that could be accomplished with the team's No. 7 pick in Thursday's draft. Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart looks like an ideal fit as a future mainstay in the purple and gold.

Still, he and others in range at No. 7 are rookies, and these are the Lakers. That means there's a need for marquee names and superstars who are already great players. 

Matching Kevin Love with Bryant would give the Mamba and Co. a great chance to be a factor next season. That might cost the team its No. 7 pick, but it would still make sense.

Because Love is just 25, he could be a cornerstone for years to come. In the interview below, he's already referring to the Minnesota Timberwolves as "they," so it seems he has already moved on or at least separated himself from the team.

James is the best player in the world, and Anthony is the type of presence that would also instantly make the Lakers a threat or at least a major draw again in the Western Conference.

Landing a major superstar to pair with Bryant could also make the Lakers' head-coaching job even more appealing than it already is. Who wouldn't want an opportunity to coach in L.A. with a roster bolstered by Bryant and another superstar?

While some franchises might have to worry about giving off an aura of instability because of uncertainty at head coach, the most successful franchise in the sport's history doesn't have quite the same concerns.

Even without a big-name head coach, the Lakers are still going to be a desirable landing spot for free agents. This is why L.A. must get the horses before it chases a coach.


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