The Los Angeles Lakers have a coaching opening. Combine that with the prestige of the brand and the massive Los Angeles fan base that has drank the Lakers’ exceptionalism Kool-Aid, and you get some wild speculation about who might come there to coach.
Like the idea Brad Stevens would come out of the Celtics’ front office to coach the Lakers. That rumor was out there, but Stevens shot it down in no uncertain terms while on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher & Rich” (hat tip NBC Sports Boston).
“No. Not entertaining,” Stevens [said]… “First of all, I have no idea what my future holds. I’m in one of those positions where someone decides to move on from me and this is the world we live in. I’m definitely not leaving to go to the Lakers. I know that for a fact.”
The Lakers fired Frank Vogel — after giving their defense-first coach an old and slow offense-first roster — and now will conduct a wide-ranging search to find his replacement. With that, a lot of unrealistic names are going to come up. Nick Nurse — the current coach of the Raptors — is one.
Steven was another. Beyond the Celtics/Lakers rivalry, Stevens reportedly had told those close to him he didn’t want to be a lifer as a coach, so Boston moved him into the front office after the exit of Danny Ainge. Stevens appears to enjoy that role, and he’s assembled a team in Boston that is a contender in the East (if Robert Williams III can get healthy).
A lot of coaches with options also saw how the Lakers treated Frank Vogel — short contract at below market value price, he was treated like an interchangeable piece who was lucky to coach for this franchise — and will have a lot more demands in their deal. If the Lakers want a coach of that caliber, they will have to pay the going rate and give that coach a say in personnel issues.
And even if they offer all that, not every coach will jump at the deal. Stevens is a good example.