Lakers owner Buss says team is “very close” to hiring a coach

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According to the Los Angeles Times’ Mark Medina, Lakers owner Jerry Buss said in a recent radio interview that the team is “very close” to hiring legendary coach Phil Jackson’s replacement:

Lakers owner Jerry Buss declined to provide a definitive timetable on hiring a replacement for Phil Jackson as the Lakers coach, but he said the organization is “very close” to finalizing its search.

“I don’t know exactly when but a week is a long time,” Buss said in a wide-ranging interview Tuesday with Playboy Radio’s Michael Eaves and Bonnie Jill Laflin on Sirius/XM Radio. “I should say that.”

Buss and executives Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak met last Tuesday to draw up an official list, butThe Times’ Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner have reported it’s possible interviews with candidates might not happen until the first week of June. The possibilities, Bresnahan and Turner and other media outlets have reported, include Rick AdelmanMike DunleavyBrian Shaw,Chuck Person and Mike Brown.

If the hire does happen in the very near future, that would seem to favor longtime Laker assistant Brian Shaw, who Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher have publicly vouched for. However, Buss made it clear that the players will not be the key factors behind the front office’s hiring decision:

Buss didn’t talk about any candidates specifically, but he made it clear he wouldn’t consult any players about whom to hire as the next coach.

“Obviously, we have to select somebody who has a reputation that players would be happy with,” Buss said. “But to ask a direct player to select a particular coach, that’s general manager territory. That’s out of the player domain.”

Considering how big of an adjustment the Lakers will have to make in the wake of Jackson’s departure, it may be in the Lakers’ best interest to make their hire sooner rather than later. However, the most important thing for the team going forward is obviously to pick the right candidate for such an important job, no matter how long the process ends up taking.