Just a few days removed from resignation of former Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, the team has already compiled a long list of possible candidates to interview later this summer. Although it is not management’s priority at the moment, hiring a strong leader with plenty of experience in the field is absolutely necessary if the team plans on getting back to their contending ways anytime soon.
Luckily, being the Lakers, GM Mitch Kupchak and owner Jim Buss hold tons of leverage moving into the head coaching carousel. Plenty of names have been floated around since last night, including Jeff Van Gundy, Tom Thibodeau and George Karl, to name a few. This is certainly an elite group of head coaches who have the potential to turn around a Los Angeles Lakers team that currently has no sense of direction.
Unfortunately for fans across the nation, this process will likely be dragged out for weeks, even months, as Kupchak is now fully focused on the rapidly approaching NBA Draft. On the bright side, the number of coaches available almost guarantees the team an opportunity to land a highly coveted and respected individual.
Depending on who is ultimately selected, the decision can heavily impact free agency for the Lakers in a positive way, as well. For example, if the Lakers can somehow convince the Chicago Bulls to let go of the defensive genius Thibodeau, Luol Deng immediately becomes a strong possibility this summer. As we all know, Deng will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and if the opportunity arises to play for his former coach, perhaps he would take it. The list goes on and on, including a possible Byron Scott hiring to lure soon to be All-Star free agent Kyrie Irving.
The possibilities are endless with these veteran coaches who have established strong relationships with their former players. Players will always feel comfortable re-joining an old coach, especially on such a historically renowned team like the Lakers. It’s amazing how the fate of this franchise appears to have completely flipped overnight, but we cannot assume just yet that everything is going to work out. This roster still requires tons of work in terms of talent. One thing is for sure though, any coach who is hired is still a better option than D’Antoni. We will have to sit tight until then to see how this offseason pans out.