Perhaps the most attention brought upon the Los Angeles Lakers all season has been since Mike D’Antoni resigned his position as head coach. The Lakers officially confirmed the resignation and have stated that there is no timeline for any decisions to be made regarding the position’s vacancy. It’s certainly understandable, as Mitch Kupchak wants to primarily focus on the rapidly approaching the NBA Draft, in which the team can potentially possess a top pick.
Despite having no timetable in place, numerous names have been floated on the rumor mill, including Kurt Rambis, Tom Thibodeau, George Karl and Byron Scott, to name a few. The variety of well-known coaches should come as no surprise, especially since this is the Lakers we are talking about. Believe it or not, there still are people who have the desire to be affiliated with the organization, even after such a disastrous year.
Furthermore, one name that should stand out is Thibodeau, who is currently under contract with the Chicago Bulls. Now, you may ask, how would the Lakers pry away a head coach who is employed by a different team? Well, it would likely have to be a deal via trade, an uncharacteristic scenario for a coach. We did have this type of transaction occur last offseason though, as Doc Rivers was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Los Angeles Clippers for a draft pick.
In my opinion, a low draft pick for a top three coach in the league would absolutely be worth following through with. However, a huge potential wrinkle in this entire scenario is the Bulls themselves. For what reason would they allow such a respected coach go for a measly draft pick? No matter how many differences Thibodeau has with Chicago’s front office — Gar Forman in particular — letting him walk now simply makes no sense. Even if the Bulls decided it was time to move on, who would replace Thibodeau?
Under these circumstances, to believe a deal involving Thibodeau at this point is flat out unrealistic. Of course, it would be the most ideal situation, as defense is the focal point of Thibodeau’s coaching style, but I just don’t see it happening.