Lakers' Head Coach Search: Latest News and Rumors on Vacant Position

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIMay 1, 2014

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Updates from Saturday, July 26

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reports that the Lakers and Byron Scott have reached an agreement:

Updates from Friday, July 25

ESPN's Chris Broussard has an update on the Lakers' search:

Updates from Wednesday, July 16

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reports on what the Lakers discussed with Byron Scott during Wednesday's meeting:

Updates from Tuesday, July 15

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reports on a head coaching candidate the Lakers plan to meet with tomorrow:

Updates from Monday, June 30

Sam Amick of USA Today provides the latest update on the Lakers' search for their next head coach now that the Nets are also looking for a new coach:

Updates from Tuesday, June 24

ESPN's Chris Broussard has the latest on the Lakers' coaching search:

ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne has more: 

Talks with the former Nets and Cavaliers coach have not progressed to the contract stage, as the Lakers continue to weigh whether to hold off on hiring a coach before they make their pitches to free agents.

The possibility of soliciting opinions of free agents before making a hire is a large part of the reason the Lakers have taken such a deliberate approach to their coaching search since Mike D'Antoni resigned after the season.

Scott, former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, former Suns coach Alvin Gentry and former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy have had formal interviews with general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president of player personnel Jim Buss.

Updates from Tuesday, June 10

Broussard reports the Lakers interviewed one potential candidate for the second time Tuesday:

Updates from Friday, June 6

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times passed along the latest development in the Lakers' head coaching search:

The Lakers have decided they need a coach with previous NBA coaching experience, which means one thing for Derek Fisher: He isn't a candidate.

The Lakers think Fisher will be a solid NBA coach or executive at some point, but their initial curiosity about him has been replaced by a desire for actual experience, the latest turn in a deliberately slow coaching search approaching the six-week mark.

Updates from Monday, June 2

Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News reports on a potential candidate's recent interaction with the Lakers front office: 

Updates from Monday, May 26

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times notes a former head coach is receiving interest from the Lakers regarding the team's vacant head coaching position:

Add Clippers associate head coach Alvin Gentry to the list of candidates the Lakers plan on interviewing for their head-coaching vacancy, The Times has learned. ...

... The Lakers became more interested in talking with Gentry after speaking with several coaches and executives who raved about Gentry’s offensive philosophy, according to one executive.

Gentry, the offensive coach for the Clippers, was credited with helping the Clippers become the top-scoring team in the NBA during the regular season.

Updates from Wednesday, May 21

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports provides an update on a candidate for Los Angeles' coaching vacancy:

Later in the day, ESPN's Chris Broussard reported the Lakers interviewed another candidate and familiar face for the position: 

Updates from Friday, May 9

The Chicago Tribune reports UNC's Roy Williams confirmed Wednesday (via Fox Sports Radio) that he's not interested in coaching the Lakers:

I've always felt like that I'm a college coach and that's where I belong. (Lakers general manager) Mitch Kupchak is one of my best friends in the whole wide world, there's no question there, but I'm a college guy and if somebody calls and offers me the greatest job in the world, it better be really good because I feel like I've got about the greatest job in the world.

Updates from Wednesday, May 7

Nick Young jokingly volunteered his services to the Lakers:

Inside Carolina reports that Roy Williams is happy where he is:

Updates from Tuesday, May 6

Bill Reiter of Fox Sports has the latest on the team's coaching search:

The Golden State Warriors fired coach Mark Jackson later Tuesday, and Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com speculates on if the Lakers would be interested in hiring him:

Updates from Monday, May 5

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times added another name to the coaching list:

Updates from Friday, May 2

Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding talked about the odds of some of the top candidates for the job:

Updates from Thursday, May 1

Kentucky head coach John Calipari has reiterated his commitment to the program after being mentioned by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times as a potential candidate to fill the Lakers' vacant head coaching position:

ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne added more on potential targets:

The Los Angeles Lakers plan a drawn-out and exhaustive search to replace coach Mike D'Antoni, but sources close to the process insist that they hope to "make a splash" with their eventual hire.

To that end, sources say, Lakers officials intend to reach out to two of the biggest names in the college game -- UConn's Kevin Ollie and Kentucky's John Calipari -- to at least gauge their interest in the job. ...

The Lakers' immediate aims, sources say, are to focus on the draft and free agency and "hold back (on the coaching front) until they get a better sense of the marketplace."

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times broke down a list of candidates for the job:

Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com had more information on a big name the Lakers reportedly plan to pursue as part of their coaching search:

Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News later reported Ollie's interest level in the job:

Via Medina, Mike Dunleavy Sr. said Thursday on his SiriusXM NBA Radio show that he would be intrigued by the job:

If I had an opportunity to interview with them I would definitely be interested. I had a great run there when I coached in the '90s. ...

It's one of the premier jobs, if not the premier job in the league. They've got Kobe Bryant still on their team and he'll be back next year healthy and I think he can play at a very high level. They've got cap space to use this summer to work on the team.

Original Text

The Los Angeles Lakers are in the market for a new head coach after Mike D'Antoni's resignation Wednesday.

According to the team's official Twitter account, no time will be wasted in the front office's search for a successor:

A source told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne that D'Antoni's departure was imminent, and general manager Mitch Kupchak praised the job D'Antoni did, per CBSSports.com's Ken Berger:

Kupchak's take is rather accurate, because the D'Antoni era never really got off the ground in the City of Angels. D'Antoni has taken on ambitious reclamation projects since his successful stint with the Phoenix Suns. The coach's previous gig at the helm of the New York Knicks also led to him resigning.

TWC SportsNet and Sam Amico of Fox Sports spoke about Byron Scott's candidacy:

Ben Higgins of 10 News reported Steve Kerr has interest in discussing the Lakers' head coaching job:

Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears revealed another coach with interest in the position:

Spears mentioned a high-profile name that's being quiet for now:

Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski speculated on a possible candidate if the Lakers decide to scour the college ranks:

Injuries plagued the Lakers during a 2013-14 campaign that saw ironman superstar Kobe Bryant play in just six games, while he and D'Antoni didn't seem to see eye to eye regardless of injury. The catalyst for D'Antoni's uptempo offense in Phoenix, two-time league MVP Steve Nash, has been hampered by health issues as his career winds down, and he wasn't able to make it work as LA's floor general.

Wojnarowski alluded to another potential option to lead the team next in PBC CSKA Moscow coach Ettore Messina:

Former BYU college player Travis Hansen played for Messina in Europe and discussed what the Italian coach brings to the table, per Dick Harmon of the Deseret News:

He’s got a high basketball IQ, he’s structured, confident, strategic, personable and demanding. ... He was pretty laid back during the preseason, watching, learning, analyzing things. He looked at talent, figured out what direction he wanted to take the team, who fit in what role, and after about three weeks coaching started.

Messina is demanding, but he believes in players. If he signs you, it is because he thinks you are one of the best. He demands you to play to the best of your abilities. He gives you the ball and expects those who can deliver to deliver. Strategically, he’s great all-around, but he’s the best in the fourth quarter.

It’s always up to the players to make plays, but when the game is on the line he knows where the ball has to go and how to get it there.

It's not that the big-market glare was too much for D'Antoni to handle so much as he lacked players to work with. In the right situation, he should still be able to coach somewhere, but this Lakers job just wasn't a good fit.

A lot of turmoil has transpired for this storied NBA franchise in the tenures of Mike Brown and D'Antoni since Phil Jackson left the bench in 2011. Spears alluded to this in outlining D'Antoni's overall lack of on-court results:

Retired Lakers legend Magic Johnson certainly welcomed D'Antoni's departure:

But the problems for LA extend beyond the coaching staff, and Johnson's criticism is a microcosm of the dysfunction going on at the moment in Laker Nation. This is a squad with a severe lack of talent and security for the future. Per HoopsHype.com, only Bryant, Nash and Robert Sacre are locked in to contracts next season.

The often out-of-control, shoot-first-ask-later Nick Young has a player option, while point guard Kendall Marshall has a team option, so that doesn't guarantee he'll be in the fold.

Absent many marquee free agents on the market this offseason—save for Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, who has expressed a desire to stay in the Big Apple—the Lakers coaching job isn't an attractive one at the moment.

Unless the Miami Heat's trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decide to exercise their early termination options like Anthony, free agency should be pretty dry. Despite the lure of a championship legacy, injuries and age are serious red flags for Nash and Bryant, and there isn't much else to work with in LA.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers confers with teammate Kobe Bryant #24 in their game against the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center on March 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges an
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On the other hand, an ambitious, strong-willed coach could be bent on restoring the Lakers to prominence, rejuvenate both Bryant and Nash and have the chance to build the roster his own way. There is far more cap flexibility this offseason for Kupchak and co., but before personnel can be decided upon, someone has to coach this team.

Finding a strong candidate to endure what will likely be another year of hardship in a deep Western Conference won't be easy. However, the pull Los Angeles tends to have and the promise of what's to come when the Lakers do turn it around could be too tempting to pass up.

It didn't end well for D'Antoni. If Messina can't be the messiah, perhaps another worthy boss can lift the Lake Show out of its collective funk.


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