Lakers Rumors: Raptors' Nick Nurse, Michigan's Juwan Howard Among HC Targets

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 11, 2022

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse () in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 12, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is reportedly among the "top targets" for the Los Angeles Lakers to replace head coach Frank Vogel, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

University of Michigan coach Juwan Howard is also expected to emerge as a candidate.

Though there is not yet an official vacancy, Charania reported Vogel is expected to be fired after finishing the season with a 33-49 record. Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported Vogel has coached his last game with the team.

Nurse would clearly be a quality replacement after an impressive four seasons leading the Toronto Raptors. The 54-year-old won an NBA title in his first year as head coach in 2018-19, and he won the league's Coach of the Year award the next season.

He has a 186-122 career regular-season record through four years, leading the Raptors to a 48-34 record in 2021-22 and the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Despite the obvious appeal, Charania noted that "it's unclear whether he will be attainable or whether he would have interest."

The Lakers would need to get permission from Toronto to interview Nurse and then work out a trade if all sides agree. 

Howard represents a different direction for Los Angeles having spent the past three years at the college level with Michigan. He has still found plenty of success in this time, earning trips to the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 the past two years. He was also named the AP Coach of the Year in 2020-21.

The 49-year-old spent 19 years in the NBA as a player, including his final three with the Miami Heat alongside Lakers star LeBron James. The squad won NBA titles in 2012 and 2013.

Howard was also a college teammate of Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka at Michigan.