What’s next for the Lakers’ coaching search? – Los Angeles Times

6 months ago Comments Off on What’s next for the Lakers’ coaching search? – Los Angeles Times

The Lakers wanted to ease into their decision on Byron Scott, let the emotions subside from a scarred season before plunging into whether he stayed or left as their coach.

But Tom Thibodeau was hired by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Scott Brooks was snapped up by the Washington Wizards and the Lakers realized they needed to act quickly if they wanted to fill a potential coaching vacancy.

They weren’t that interested in Thibodeau because he would want personnel-making decisions and that wasn’t going to happen, according to a person familiar with the situation. Brooks was a better-suited candidate for them, even if he wasn’t necessarily their main choice.

Sacramento is also actively seeking a coach and Houston might look for one after its season ends.

So team executives Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss met with Scott after their minor-league affiliate finished a Sunday night playoff game at the Lakers’ training facility. Scott was told he wouldn’t be retained, and the Lakers were thrust into their fourth coaching search since Phil Jackson retired in 2011.

It’s going to take some time, and the initial list shows about a dozen candidates.

The Lakers have three different tiers from which to choose — former NBA head coaches, current NBA assistant coaches and college head coaches.

Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson are two of the headliners for the first tier. Luke Walton and Ettore Messina are current NBA assistants on the Lakers’ list. Kentucky’s John Calipari and Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie will also be considered.

“It’s a no-stone-left-unturned philosophy,” said a person familiar with the situation.

There are so many variables in play, so much left to determine with a few key dates only leading to more uncertainty for a team coming off its worst season ever (17-65).

The NBA draft lottery is May 17, and the Lakers have a 55.8% chance of retaining their top-three protected pick. If they lose the pick because of the Steve Nash trade, their vacancy becomes that much less desirable. If they keep it, however, it’s an attractive chip.

The draft itself is June 23, and if the Lakers manage to get a top-two pick, they will take one of two gifted amateurs — Louisiana State forward Ben Simmons or Duke forward Brandon Ingram. The third pick is up for grabs because a glut of players have yet to distinguish themselves. The Lakers might even try to trade the pick if they end up third on lottery night.

What’s next for the Lakers’ coaching search? – Los Angeles Times