Lakers News: Breaking Down Latest in Search for a Head Coach

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2014

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak talks during a news conference in El Segundo, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, about the death of team owner Jerry Buss. Buss died in Los Angeles on Monday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

It's pretty amazing that LeBron James has returned to Cleveland, Carmelo Anthony decided to stay in New York, Pau Gasol has gone to the Chicago Bulls, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade decided to stick around in Miami, Lance Stephenson is off to Charlotte and, oh yeah, the Los Angeles Lakers still don't have a head coach.

Seriously, pretty much the only thing that hasn't happened this offseason is Kevin Love being traded, and the Lakers are still without a man to run the team. Hell, they've even added Jeremy Lin and re-signed Nick Young.

But still, no coach. 

But they are getting close, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

The Los Angeles Lakers expect to hire a coach in the next week or two, but they do not consider the interview process to be finished, according to a league source.

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.

Per that report, Mitch Kupchak—the team's general manager—addressed the situation.

'Maybe we can wait until September,' Kupchak joked. 'Obviously that's one of the next things that we're going to address, and with putting the roster together and getting through the draft and getting through this last period, a week or two, the next thing we're going to work on is the coach, and I think we're going to have somebody in the next couple weeks.'

Meanwhile, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, the Lakers were planning on bringing Scott in for another interview this week:

The latter point Shelburne makes is an important one. Mike Brown was unceremoniously fired five games into his second season with the Lakers in 2012, and Mike D'Antoni's recent tenure could best be described as disappointing. 

Suffice to say, the Lakers haven't exactly reached the heights of the Phil Jackson years after the Zen Master retired from coaching. 

Still, it's pretty shocking that the team hasn't been able to secure a coach by now. Perhaps all of the uncertainty on the roster has made them hesitant to make a move. Perhaps vetting potential candidates through Kobe Bryant has slowed the process (if, in fact, the front office actually cares what Bryant thinks when it comes to adding a coach). 

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 10:  NBA Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant stands on the sideline prior to the start of the game against the United States and China during an international firendly match at Qualcomm Stadium on April 10, 2014 in San Diego, California. (
Kent Horner/Getty Images

Perhaps—and this won't be popular with fans in L.A.—the job isn't quite as desirable as it has been in the past. That might sound like blasphemy, but at the moment, the new coach will be expected to reach the playoffs with a core of Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Lin, Julius Randle, Nick Young and Steve Nash. 

Not exactly the stuff championships are built upon.

Still, it's pretty amazing that a team like the Lakers wouldn't have their coaching vacancy filled about as quickly as it became vacant in the first place. This is supposed to be one of the glamour jobs in American sports, after all. 

It's a statement of where the organization is right now. Quite frankly, this is an adjustment period for L.A. as the Bryant years come to an end. The next era in Los Angeles will perhaps start next summer (or the summer after that) if they can lure several big-name free agents to town.

For now, however, Lakers fans will probably be pleased just to hire a coach.

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