The Los Angeles Lakers' search for a new head coach has been fairly slow-moving so far, but there's a reason for that.
NBA insider Marc Stein recently provided some details about the inner workings of the Lakers' pursuits. He noted that things aren't expected to come together quickly because "the Lakers need to find an established coach who can win LeBron James' buy-in" and the "most capable coaches are obviously employed elsewhere already."
NBA broadcaster and former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson is reportedly on the Lakers' radar. However, Stein notes that he's far from the top of the team's list and his candidacy is contingent upon "if he doesn't get the Sacramento [Kings] job." Stein added, "I don't get the sense—yet—that he has a strong chance in L.A."
Despite the fact that the team went 33-49 this year and failed to even qualify for the play-in tournament, Los Angeles still has expectations to be a title contender next season. That type of "win-now" mentality surely explains why the team's list of candidates includes a few coaches who are not currently available.
Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard was expected to be a prime choice for the Lakers because of his history with James, as they were teammates on the Miami Heat. Howard also joined Miami's coaching staff after his playing career ended. But it was reported weeks ago that Howard desires to remain at Michigan so he can continue coaching his sons Jace and Jett.
Los Angeles is reportedly interested in going after Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse and Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, but both of them are not currently available. Stein noted that pursuing a coach who is still under contract with another team "comes with complications." Nurse also recently affirmed his commitment to the Raptors, saying he's "focused on coaching this team."
According to Stein, Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham is the "most sensible name from the league's assistant coaching ranks" to be sought after by the Lakers. Ham is believed to be "long overdue for his head-coaching shot." Stein also added that Ham "has the requisite personality and presence to embrace the challenge of coaching James."
It's highly unlikely that the Lakers will hire someone with no prior head-coaching experience, but at this point they might have to get creative in their search to find a coach who would lead them back to title contention.