The Lakers are still taking their time searching for a new coach, casting a wide net and being patient to see who else might become available. However, some momentum is building.
This week the Lakers conducted a couple of interviews with veteran coaches, Mark Jackson formerly of the Warriors and long-time Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, according to new reports from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Los Angeles Lakers have interviewed former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson for their head coaching job, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Jackson is among the finalists for the Sacramento Kings head coach opening.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 7, 2022
The Lakers interviewed former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts for the franchise’s coaching job this week, sources tell ESPN. Stotts made the playoffs in eight straight seasons with Blazers, including two trips to conference semifinals and a berth in conference finals.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 7, 2022
The Lakers also have interviewed top assistant coaches Adrian Griffin of the Raptors and Darvin Ham of the Bucks as part of this search. However, it seems unlikely the win-now Lakers would turn to a first-time head coach to take over a LeBron James-led team.
LeBron reportedly backs Jackson, who helped build the foundation and defense of the Warriors’ championship years but was let go due to a combative relationship with the front office. Jackson has since worked as a broadcaster for ABC/ESPN and is very popular among players. He is considered one of the frontrunners for the Sacramento Kings coaching vacancy.
Stotts is a solid offensive coach who brings consistency to the table — the Blazers made the playoffs eight straight seasons, and he had a strong relationship with Damian Lillard. Those teams never made the NBA Finals, but that was mostly about roster limitations, not coaching.
Expect more names to come out as the Lakers are considering a lot of options and being patient in their coaching search process.
One reason to be patient: Other coaches currently with head coaching jobs could become available and be of interest to the Lakers. There is a lot of speculation about the future of Quin Snyder in Utah, although sources have told NBC Sports the Lakers may have interest in him but he has limited interest in the Lakers job (the rumor is he is hoping to take over the Spurs whenever Gregg Popovich chooses to step down). Another rumor floating around regards the future of Doc Rivers in Philadelphia (and his relationship with James Harden), but his team is still playing in the second round of the postseason.
Lakers GM Rob Pelinka is running the search, but the entire unorthodox power structure of the Lakers seems to have a voice in the process, including Kurt Rambis, while owner Jeanie Buss consulting with Phil Jackson.
Los Angeles needs to nail this coaching hire, as their championship window will not be open long with LeBron turning 38 next season (even if he is still playing at an All-NBA level). However, more important than the coaching hire will be the offseason moves to change and — hopefully for Lakers’ nation — upgrade the roster around LeBron and Anthony Davis.