Lakers coaching candidates: 25 possible options -- from the obvious to ridiculous -- to replace Frank Vogel

With Frank Vogel formally out as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, I believe it would behoove us to have a look at this group’s last couple of training searches:

  • In 2019, the Lakers picked Ty Lue as their head coach … however could not sign him to an agreement. They provided simply a three-year offer and demanded control over his training personnel. He decreased and they chose Vogel.
  • In 2016, the Lakers employed Luke Walton, and in 2014, the Lakers employed Byron Scott. The procedure was quite typical, which by Lakers requirements, is never typical.
  • In 2012, the Lakers fired Mike Brown 5 video games into the season. They approached Phil Jackson about returning, however when he requested for a weekend to think of it, they employed Mike D’Antoni prior to he might provide a reaction.
  • A year previously, after Jackson’s retirement, Kobe Bryant openly lobbied for assistant coach Brian Shaw to be promoted. The Lakers employed Brown.
  • In 2005, the Lakers rehired Jackson after parting with him just a year previously. They attempted to employ Mike Krzyzewski in 2004. Rudy Tomjanovich coached them for 43 video games in between Jackson stints.

All of this integrates to paint an image of what a normal Lakers training search appears like: enthusiastic, nepotistic and totally odd. 

Above all else, the Lakers chase winners. Lue, Jackson and Tomjanovich all won champions prior to their dalliances with Los Angeles. Krzyzewski was the very best coach in college. Brown and Scott reached the Finals. Vogel and D’Antoni reached the conference finals. The Lakers almost never ever employ coaches without substantial resumes. They likewise really greatly prefer coaches with ties to the Lakers. Lue, Walton and Scott all played in Los Angeles. This isn’t unexpected thinking about the majority of the power brokers behind these hires either bet the Lakers themselves (Jerry West, Mitch Kupchak, Kurt Rambis) or were carefully related to the group in other methods (Rob Pelinka was Kobe’s representative). 

The Lakers like to remain within the Laker household when possible. They likewise do not have any form of embarassment. They’re prepared to ignore the best prospect if they can’t employ him on their terms. They’re ready to return to a coach they as soon as fired with their tail in between their legs. Do not anticipate this to be a peaceful procedure. So prior to things get too wild, we’re going to cover every possible prospect to change Vogel as the next coach of the Lakers.

The presently utilized huge names

Seven playoff groups have actually altered coaches after the postseason over the previous 2 years. That does not consist of the Boston Celtics, who promoted their coach to the front workplace after last season, or the Brooklyn Nets, who fired Kenny Atkinson in the middle of the 2019-20 season and employed a replacement just after the Orlando bubble. This is going to be a pattern that continues throughout the all-in age. As increasingly more groups go after instant contention, those that do not require scapegoats. Changing coaches is simpler than altering gamers, so groups normally want to them as fall people. Two veterans stand apart with the postseason looming.

Doc Rivers supervised another collapse last postseason. His 76ers, who looked so appealing previous to the James Harden acquisition, have actually plunged terribly considering that the trade due date. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey did not employ Rivers, and the 2 of them approach basketball relatively in a different way. If Philadelphia flames out early in the playoffs, Rivers, regardless of the 3 years staying on his agreement, is the likeliest scapegoat without a doubt. He is likewise precisely the sort of prospect all of the significant decision-makers in Los Angeles might jeopardize on. He’s a huge name that has actually coached in Los Angeles prior to and is understood to be player-friendly. His doubtful rotation options and hostility to 3-pointers are significant arguments versus his hiring, and he has no significant ties to the company. Still, he is the sort of splashy hire that this group tends to prefer. If he is readily available, he will be amongst the favorites.

Quin Snyder ought to be the preferred if he does appear. He does not have Rivers’ champion pedigree, however has actually operated in the company prior to and has a lot more modern-day training viewpoints. He’s a reported prospect to change Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, and the Jazz truly should not let him go, however modification is concerning that company in some style if they suffer another awkward playoff defeat. If it’s Snyder, he will be extremely in-demand. 

The previous Laker coaches

Most Lakers coaches will be thought about on the basis of what they can do with a lineup that does not consist of Russell Westbrook. In all possibility, he will be traded. But if he isn’t? Mike D’Antoni is among the couple of offending coaches ingenious enough to develop a system around his shooting shortages. Westbrook balanced 27.2 points under D’Antoni in Houston 2 seasons earlier. But D’Antoni’s last Lakers period didn’t end all that well. Watch for him to become a possible replacement for Rivers in Philadelphia if the Sixers look for a modification.

Mike Brown is a far likelier returning Laker. The company might quickly talk itself into shooting him too quickly. After all, he was axed simply 5 video games into his 2nd Lakers season. He’s coached LeBron James to the Finals, and a prolonged apprenticeship under Steve Kerr can just assist his cause. Brown will be a head coach once again if he wishes to be, and his protective track record is on par with Vogel’s. If he can wed that with a few of the offending concepts the Warriors depend on, he’ll be an effective head coach in his next task.

Kurt Rambis was the interim coach of the Lakers for the majority of the 1998-99 season. After it ended, Shaquille O’Neal offered a message to his representative to relay to Jerry West. “I’m not playing for Kurt,” O’Neal stated, according to Jeff Pearlman in his book, “Three Ring Circus.” “Nobody wants to play for Kurt. If Kurt’s coach next year, I ain’t playing.” This records the essence of Rambis rather succinctly. Nobody wishes to bet him. That exercises perfectly due to the fact that he isn’t certified to coach this group. He has actually coached 192 NBA video games without O’Neal or Kobe Bryant on his lineup and won 41 of them. The Knicks almost mutinied versus him. On benefit, he does not should have to be on this list. He needs to be pointed out, however, due to the fact that for factors that stay uncertain, he holds an excessive quantity of power within the company. If he wishes to coach the Lakers, it may not matter that no one wishes to bet him. He may have the power to employ himself. Fortunately, it appears not likely that he takes that seat due to the fact that, according to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, he is considered as an “integral figure in the front office.” That bullet seems evaded.

Internal prospects

Don’t anticipate the Lakers to remain in the structure here. David Fizdale auditioned for the task in December when Frank Vogel got COVID and he went 1-5. His underwhelming Knicks period will not do him any prefers here either, and while he agrees James in his existing capability as an assistant, his fractured relationship with Marc Gasol brings into question his capability to exist side-by-side with specific stars. Phil Handy may be on a head-coaching track. He’s drawn rave evaluations for his deal with both James and the more youthful Lakers, and he has actually won 3 of the previous 6 champions in an assistant function. It simply does not appear like the Lakers would target a developmental professional provided their desire to win now. The finest circumstance for Handy would be to grow with a more youthful group, not delve into the deep end with among the messiest tasks in basketball. No other Lakers assistants are prepared to be thought about for leading tasks.

External assistants

There aren’t lots of novice coaches that are going to amass major factor to consider here. Very few of them have the reliability to lead a veteran locker space like this one. Sam Cassell may be an exception. He is an extensively reputable previous gamer who has actually invested years working under Doc Rivers, and as James understands well from his time with Ty Lue, previous Rivers assistants tend to do well in leading tasks. If he had his choice of first-timers, however, he’d likely promote for Jared Dudley. The long time function gamer worked as a confidante to James and Davis in his 2 seasons as a Laker, and James openly whined when Dudley wasn’t re-signed this offseason. He went on to take an assistant task under Jason Kidd in Dallas. It’s most likely prematurely for Dudley to get a head training task, however he’ll get one ultimately, and if buy-in from James and Davis is critical here, he’ll a minimum of be talked about internally. Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin is another future head coach who ought to get some interviews this offseason, however with no significant connections to the significant power brokers in Los Angeles, he’s most likely going to have a difficult time getting a foot in the door.

Connected to the concepts

The Lakers attempted to employ Lue in 2019 in part due to the fact that of his connection to James. That didn’t end up being a requirement, as Vogel had actually coached neither James nor Davis, however provided their instant requirement to compete, it’s most likely going to element into this search. A long shot to view here would be Vanderbilt’s Jerry Stackhouse, who quickly crossed courses with James in Miami prior to an extremely concerned run as a Raptors assistant. If the Lakers are going to pursue a previous James colleague, Juwan Howard would definitely top their list. He both had fun with and coached James in Miami, however he is likewise a college colleague of Pelinka’s. He talked to for the task in 2019 and has actually gone on to an effective stint as Michigan’s head coach. If he has an interest in going back to the pros, the Lakers would be a reasonable landing area.

But James is nearing completion of his profession. Eventually, the franchise would choose to hand the reins over to Davis. His last coach in New Orleans, Alvin Gentry, will likely be readily available as the Kings look for a full-time replacement for Luke Walton. Gentry is an offending genius who would fit well on a Lakers personnel, however provided his up-and-down record as a head coach, most likely will not be atop the group’s list. If the Lakers wish to swing huge on a coach Davis would authorize of, do not be shocked if John Calipari gets a call. While his task isn’t precisely in jeopardy, Kentucky hasn’t been to a Final Four considering that 2015. If he feels as though he’s stagnated in his existing position, the Lakers represent an attractive short-term escape path. If absolutely nothing else, we understand he can get in touch with stars. That’s a huge part of prospering with the Lakers.

James desired Mark Jackson, represented by Klutch Sports, to take control of the Cavaliers when they fired David Blatt. Cleveland sensibly stated no. Jackson’s isolation-heavy offense held the Stephen Curry-led Warriors back substantially. They won a champion in their very first season without him. As long as he is represented by Klutch, however, his name is going to discover its method into this report mill.

And if Westbrook does return? Scott Brooks coached him in both Oklahoma City and Washington. The Lakers thought about employing him as a Westbrook whisperer this season, however were outbid by Portland. Neither of his last 2 head training stints were especially motivating, however if the Lakers do require to get Westbrook to purchase in, Brooks is most likely their best option.

Former head coaches trying to find another opportunity

This is the group that Vogel as soon as came from. When the Lue hire failed, the Lakers aimed to previous head coaches deserving of another shot. The readily available coach whose profile is most comparable to Vogel’s in 2019 is most likely Terry Stotts. Like Vogel, Stotts peaked as a conference finalist. He lost his task after the Blazers grew stagnant in his last seasons. He is a lot more of an offending mind than the defensive-focused Vogel, however otherwise, the 2 share lots of parallels.

If defense stays a concern, Steve Clifford would be a smart target. If he might coax satisfactory defenses out of underwhelming skill in Orlando and Charlotte, simply picture what he might do with Davis. Speaking of maximizing his skill, Kenny Atkinson’s deal with a minimal lineup in Brooklyn sufficed to tempt Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to the Nets. Of course, he never ever developed an enduring relationship with those stars and was eventually fired. Now he’s working as a developmental professional in Golden State. That ability isn’t a concern today, however when this group ultimately requires to be reconstructed, Atkinson would depend on the job.

Dave Joerger came closer to taking the Kings to the playoffs than anybody has throughout their lotto streak. He was fired anyhow due to the fact that … well … the Kings. How he’d feel about signing up with another inefficient company is anybody’s guess, however he’s prepared for another head-coaching stint. Lloyd Pierce might possibly get one also. While Atlanta grew after his termination a season earlier, they have actually considering that returned to down to Earth. Health played a huge part in keeping back his Hawks, though health hasn’t been a strength for the Lakers either.

And then there’s Brian Shaw, who had a quick run as Denver’s head coach and has actually fallen off of the carousel since. Currently with the Clippers after a year training the G-League Ignite, Shaw would please the group’s desire to remain in the household. Of course, if he wasn’t best for the task a years earlier, it deserves asking what has altered considering that?

Non-prospects who require to be resolved

Phil Jackson is 76 years of ages. That’s 3 years older than any coach in NBA history. He’s not going back to the bench, though he likely will have impact as a consultant to Jeanie Buss if she seeks his counsel. Similarly, it would be difficult to picture that even LeBron’s Team U.S.A. connection might coax Mike Krzyzewski into the NBA after his retirement from Duke. If Coach K wished to coach the Lakers he might’ve in 2004.

The pie-in-the-sky name that will undoubtedly be considered throughout this procedure is Erik Spoelstra, the long time coach of the Heat who won 2 champions with James. There would be something fitting about his coach beginning his profession in Los Angeles and completing it in Miami just for his protege to turn the script, and Spoelstra’s current on-court fight with Jimmy Butler recommends a little stress in the Sunshine State.

It simply would not make any sense for Spoelstra to make the relocation. The Heat are the most steady company in the NBA. Spoelstra might be in line to change Riley as group president when the famous executive retires. Miami is among the couple of groups that would agree its coach if he might no longer exist side-by-side with a gamer, and there’s no factor to think things have actually gone that far. Spoelstra is attempting to win a champion with the Heat today. He’s not going to be the coach of the Lakers.

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