The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly delaying the hiring of a head coach until the NBA free agency period begins. With the draft only two weeks away, the Lakers appear prepared to go through the selection process of their 7th pick, without the input of any upcoming head coach.
The idea has its critics, as does anything the Lakers do, but they seem unjustified. Why wouldn’t they wait and see which players are on the market? They aren’t in a hurry to hire a coach.
On the off chance Lebron James opts out of his contract with the Miami Heat, the opportunity to have a say in who his head coach is going to be for the next four years might be a reason for him to join the team. Not having a coach signed and giving any prospective superstar free agent a voice in who is hired can only be a good thing.
The idea that James would take his talents to Hollywood is more likely going to be a movie script than an actual occurrence but nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to have the plan in place.
There isn’t a plethora of all-time great coaches they need to rush to hire. The Lakers missed that boat letting franchise fan favorite Phil Jackson go last season. Until players are in camp, learning systems and practicing as a team, there isn’t a valid argument as to why the Lakers need to hastily hire anyone.
The current shortlist for the Lakers is Mike Dunleavy, Kurt Rambis, Byron Scott, Alvin Gentry and Lionel Hollins. Early on, Scott seems the favorite as the only one to have been called in for a second interview according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. Close behind is Rambis with his previous history with the club helping his case to take over as head coach, fitting the mold of the experienced coach the Lakers are reportedly after.
Avoiding the new trend of hiring rookie coaches like Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher, the Lakers need a coach with experience and the ability to control the egos in the game’s second largest market. Kobe Bryant is the guy coaches need to impress, and so long as the incumbent coach has the respect of arguably the greatest Laker ever, there shouldn’t be the public bickering through the media as was the case with Mike D’Antoni.
Coaches want to come to Los Angeles, so delaying the hire isn’t going to leave them without a decent group to choose from. It’s a case of wait and see for the Lakers who have nothing to lose by delaying a hire until the free agency period begins.