The Los Angeles Lakers really need to hire a head coach.
This offseason should be considered critical for this franchise due to a healthy Kobe Bryant, a new-look roster and some great rookie talent following a disastrous 2013 season. If this team is to complete its bounce-back bid, a coach must be in the fold.
Los Angeles has been taking its sweet time looking for its replacement for Mike D'Antoni. That was alright in the early stages of the offseason, as plenty of options were out there and the team had to undergo its due diligence.
It's now nearing the end of July, though, and the team has had a clear front-runner in Byron Scott for quite some time now.
So, why haven't the Lakers finalized a deal yet? Well, recent rumors around the Web may help shed some light on the situation.
Did the status of Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers have something to do with the prolonged search?
Amid all the unanswered questions who the Lakers will hire as their next head coach and when, two team sources strongly disputed that any delay stems from waiting out to see if Clippers coach Doc Rivers will become available because of embattled owner Donald Sterling prolonging a costly litigation battle.
If that wasn't the issue, what was?
Well, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders gave his thoughts on what may be holding up the proceedings:
.@otts_thoughts: ---> my bet is Byron wants long-term deal to get through rebuilding. Lakers likely unwilling to do a five-six year deal.— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) July 23, 2014
That actually makes plenty of sense. It could be argued the Lakers are looking to do what they can over the next couple of seasons before being forced to rebuild after the departure of Bryant.
But, it appears as though the Lakers are excessively dragging out the process.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com recently reported that, although Scott is the leading candidate for the job, the team is still looking to continue its interview process:
While former Lakers great Byron Scott has been considered the leading candidate for the position for weeks, having gone through multiple interviews with management and having received an endorsement from none other than Kobe Bryant last week, even he likely would need another interview before being named coach, according to the source.
Yes, Scott received an endorsement from Bryant, and Chris Broussard tweeted even more members of the Lakers' camp have endorsed the coaching candidate:
Byron Scott frontrunner for Lakers job. Has been talking w/Kobe in coach/player terms. Magic, Worthy, MCooper advocating 4 him w /Busses.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 24, 2014
Even Scott has weighed in on his feelings about why he's the best fit for the job. Here's what he had to say during a recent interview with Sam Amick of USA Today:
I think the Kobe relationship is going to play a big part. Again, I think I've got a hand up on (the job) because of our relationship. We get along extremely well. Kobe knows all about me and what I'm about. He knows that I'm an old-school coach who's very demanding on the defensive end and knows that defense and rebounding wins championships, so I think from that point of view we see eye to eye.
The Lakers say they weren't considering Rivers. Scott seemingly had a stranglehold on the job, and he's received endorsements from Bryant and others. Could the issue of money or contract duration be the lone hurdle at this juncture?
Based on recent rumors, it certainly seems that way. However, all we can do is speculate at this point.
As for the Lakers, no matter the remaining hurdles, it's time to get something done immediately.