Lakers Rumors: Team To Compile ‘Long List’ Of Coaching Candidates
The Los Angeles Lakers, looking to rebuild and move on from the Kobe Bryant era, decided not to retain Byron Scott as coach after two struggling seasons.Advertisement
The decision to let Scott go, which was first reported in Yahoo Sports, is hard to argue with after two worst seasons in the 16-time NBA champion franchise’s history, going 38-126. With four more games lost than in their previous franchise-worst season in 2014-15, the Lakers ended the season with the NBA’s second-worst record at 17-65.
Both Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni were also fired before Scott, which all happened in just less than two full years. The Lakers are now looking for their fifth head coach since Phil Jackson left in 2011.
It may not be a brief search however. The Lakers are compiling a long wish list of coaching candidates for their search, including former NBA coaches and current pro assistants, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Two names that won’t be on that list are Scott Brooks and Tom Thibodeau, with Brooks hired to succeed Randy Wittman in Washington and Thibodeau landing in Minnesota.
Some possible replacements for Byron Scott might include:
- Luke Walton: Former Lakers forward, current Golden State assistant coach who guided the Warriors while head coach Steve Kerr recovered from back surgery.
- Jeff Van Gundy: ESPN analyst and former Knicks/Rockets coach who has extensive NBA coaching experience but much more likely to take on a job as a coach/president of basketball operations.
- Ettore Messina: The coaching legend in Europe and is now the San Antonio Spurs assistant coach.
- Brian Shaw: Former Lakers guard who became top-flight assistant coach under Phil Jackson in Los Angeles but had a disastrous two seasons at Denver.
- Kevin Ollie: Journeyman NBA player starred at Crenshaw High and one of Durant’s favorite former teammates.
But despite the struggles in recent years, NBA News reported, the Lakers still has more than $40 million in potential cap room available next summer – making them one of the NBA’s marquee franchises.
The Lakers have a core of intriguing talent such as D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson but unless the team’s front office or General Manager Mitch Kupchak makes the right move, right now, they won’t be able to prove they have the stability they want to showcase, come July 1 when the NBA free agency starts.