With August just around the corner, the Los Angeles Lakers still haven't hired a head coach. Pardon the world for speculating, but it certainly doesn't appear that the team is ecstatic about hiring former player Byron Scott to fill the void.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders believes contract length may be the sticking point.
.@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
For weeks, it has appeared as though the Lakers could make Scott's hiring official, but for whatever reason, that hasn't happened. Aside from haggling over contract length, another reason for the delay could be that the team is waiting for someone they hold in higher regard to come along.
Could that someone be the man currently in charge of the Lakers' Staples Center rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers?
ESPN's Bill Simmons thinks so. While appearing as a guest on ESPN LA Now, Simmons said (h/t MassLive.com's Jay King): "Another conspiracy theory that I don't think is even a conspiracy theory, this is clearly why the Lakers were waiting (and) not hiring a coach: Because they must feel like they have a chance with Doc Rivers if (the Donald Sterling ownership battle) keeps dragging on."
(You can listen to the interview here, the segment happens six minutes into the podcast.)
Doc Rivers is contractually obligated to the Clippers for now, but rumors swirled, per ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne, that he may step down if disgraced owner Donald Sterling remains in control of the team heading into next season.
Even with that possibility floating around, Mark Medina of Inside SoCal says sources tell him the Lakers aren't waiting on Rivers.
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.
Prying Rivers away from the Clippers would certainly be a coup for the suddenly starving Lakers franchise. The team can continue to deny rumors about Rivers, but something is amiss in this odd and prolonged hiring process.
Fresh Start for Ed Davis
It's easy to forget that the Lakers' newly acquired big man was the No. 13 pick overall in the 2010 NBA draft. The son of former NBA forward Terry Davis has yet to establish himself as more than a role player in the league to this point.
That said, he is still just 25 years old. His length and athleticism could help him stand out on a Lakers frontcourt that is seemingly going to be wide open for minutes in the coming season.
The team already has prized rookie Julius Randle, Carlos Boozer, Ryan Kelly, Jordan Hill and Robert Sacre. Still, Davis sees landing with the Lakers as a chance to make an impact.
Per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, Davis said:
I think it will be a great opportunity for me playing wise and I like the pieces that they have in place there. Obviously, there’s the connection with my agent [Rob Pelinka] and Kobe [Bryant] and some of the guys who are there, so that had something to do with it. But I just thought that this would be a good opportunity for me to come in here, help this team win, compete and have sort of a new start to get rejuvenated.
If Davis can bring energy and rebounding, he'll likely earn himself some valuable minutes off the Lakers bench.
Jeremy Lin Is in a Great Position to Succeed
Despite the fact that he's played only four seasons in the NBA and is just 25 years old, Lin's career has already been quite eventful. The obscure rookie season with the Golden State Warriors, the Linsanity period with the New York Knicks and the two-year stint with the Houston Rockets has created enough news to inspire an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary.
Yet, with all that has happened, his biggest impact could be yet to come. With the Lakers' current roster, Lin would appear to be in line to start, or to at least play the bulk of the minutes at point guard. The only thing that could change that is if 40-year-old Steve Nash can rebound from an array of injuries.
That seems pretty far-fetched at this point, and there are rumors the team might release Nash. The future Hall of Famer has said he will retire if that happens.
(He talks about it at the four minute, 24-second mark of the linked video.)
However things transpire, Lin seems relieved to be moving to the next step of his life and career. Per Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders, Lin said:
It’s been an up and down year for me. I think when I look back on not just this past year but the past two years I’ve learned and grown a lot as a person, Christian and basketball player. From the minute I stepped into Houston to now, I’m definitely a much more complete player. I’ve learned how to do a lot of things I haven’t had to do before, playing off the ball, cutting, really challenging myself on my weaknesses I’ve tried to improve on.
Strong faith and focus on every aspect of his game has seemingly been essential through trying times with the Rockets. Lin and the Lakers hope it has all prepared him for a big year in Los Angeles.
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