The Los Angeles Lakers are in need of a new head coach, and to no one’s surprise, a lot of people want the job. Byron Scott and Lionel Hollins are said to be interested; Kobe Bryant will supposedly push for Tom Thibodeau (with Derek Fisher’s candidacy also being thrown into the mix), and the Lakers are reportedly going to gauge if Kevin Ollie and John Calipari are looking for new work. Per Yahoo! and ESPN:
The Lakers have lost talent, lost stability, lost what separates winning and losing franchises. Bryant won’t pick the next coach, the way he had no input into Mike Brown and little into D’Antoni. Bryant will wish for Tom Thibodeau to free himself from Chicago. He loves Jeff Van Gundy, and shares management’s affinity for Euro legend Ettore Messina, who spent a season on Mike Brown’s staff.
Bryant has long admired Byron Scott, but there’s a different ex-Lakers guard who could go much further to regenerate the franchise’s culture and hold the insight into getting the most out of Bryant’s final two seasons: Derek Fisher.
Once the Oklahoma City Thunder’s season ends, Fisher will have a willingness to listen to coaching, front office and broadcasting possibilities. As for the Lakers’ coaching job, it holds tremendous appeal to him, sources with knowledge of his thinking said on Wednesday night. For now, the Thunder’s 3-2 deficit to Memphis holds his full focus, but there’s no rush for the Lakers to hire a coach now.
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.”
Another factor in their thinking, sources say, is leaving the coaching position open in the short term in case a potential free-agent target — such as LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony — tells team officials in July that he would consider coming to the Lakers if the coach of his choosing is hired.
The team is not expected to pursue Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski this time, after unsuccessfully trying to lobby Krzyzewski to leave Durham in the past, but sources say that L.A. is “intrigued” by both Ollie and Calipari.
In terms of other potential candidates, Lakers officials have long held ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy in high regard and, according to sources, plan to again interview former Lakers and Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, who was considered for the job in the wake of Mike Brown’s dismissal, when the Lakers ultimately opted for D’Antoni over Phil Jackson and Dunleavy.
It’s believed that Byron Scott and Kurt Rambis, both former Lakers from the team’s 1980s glory days, will be considered as well. Scott has been working as a studio analyst on Lakers broadcasts since his 2013 dismissal by the Cleveland Cavaliers; Rambis has already had one stint as the Lakers’ head coach and is still under contract to the team for next season after serving as an assistant to D’Antoni last season.
ex-NBA coach Lionel Hollins has interest in the Lakers head coach opening, a source said. Hollins coached Memphis to West Finals last season
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 1, 2014
Byron Scott called in to @TWCSportsNet and said he’s interested in #Lakers coaching vacancy.
— Jaime Maggio (@jaimemaggio) May 1, 2014