Report: Lakers to interview Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for head coaching job

Associated Press

He would be a good hire, albeit on that might be hard to sell to a fan base looking for a bigger name.

The Lakers are expected to sit down soon with Spurs lead assistant coach Ettore Messina, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Lakers have received permission from the San Antonio Spurs to interview their lead assistant coach, Ettore Messina, as a possible replacement for the recently departed Byron Scott. It is unclear how soon the team plans to interview Messina, the widely-respected Italian coach who won four Euroleague titles and was twice the Euroleague coach of the year before spending the 2011-12 NBA season on the Lakers coaching staff headed by Mike Brown.

The Kings also reportedly are interested in Messina. He would have a little time to interview right now as the Spurs are off after sweeping Memphis in the first round (they start the second round against Oklahoma City on Saturday).

Messina knows the game well and how to coach it — one of his EuroLeague titles came from a team led by a young Manu Ginobili, who still sings his praises. Messina’s teams in Europe tended to work inside out (through post ups or penetration) with good passing big men taking advantage of proper spacing to find shooters. His teams also push the tempo, and he likes things like drag screens in the secondary break. If you want to understand him better, read this letter he wrote back in 2007 for Ball in Europe. Also, don’t compare him to recent European coaching import David Blatt, Messina doesn’t quite that same ego.

The Lakers have Luke Walton on top of their coaching short list, but if he decides he doesn’t want the job Messina would be a great hire. Just maybe a tougher sell to a fan base expecting a bigger name.