Lakers’ Search for Young Talent Should Extend to Coaching Hire Too

Daniel Rapaport —  May 22, 2014

According to a report from Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski (quite possibly the most trustworthy reporter in the sport), Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak met with Mike Dunleavy Wednesday morning to discuss the team’s vacant head coaching position. Yes, the same Mike Dunleavy who was fired by Donald Sterling (!!!) after leading the Clippers to exactly one winning season in his seven years at the helm. Like I’m sure many of you were, I was less than thrilled to read that report this morning.

Sure, I understand that the Lakers and Dunleavy have a history. He took over after Pat Riley’s departure and led the team to two consecutive playoff appearances. But that was twenty-four years ago. And I get that Kupchak has pledged to interview a multitude of candidates before finally making his decision, so Dunleavy’s odds are bleak at best. But I have a question for the Lakers-and other teams- that I’ve been wanting to ask for years now: What has changed since Coach ___’s last firing that you believe he’s ready to lead your team to the promised land?

When the Lakers hired another Mike (D’Antoni) who’s less than popular in Los Angeles, it made sense roster wise. Mitch Jim’s thought process was that the Lakers had a roster tailor made to fit the D’Antoni system- Nash and Dwight, if the latter proved willing (which he didn’t), would run a nasty pick-and-roll with Kobe on the wing and Pau ready to hit the elbow jumper at the high post. Mitch had the seven-seconds-or-less Suns in his mind when he sat down with D’Antoni, but he conveniently overlooked D’Antoni’s tenure with the New York Knicks. He went 121-167 in New York and was subsequently fired. While I was one of the many Laker fans (don’t act like you foresaw last year’s trainwreck coming- no one did) who salivated at the thought of that offense firing at full potential, maybe the front office should have seen D’Antoni’s failure in New York as writing on the wall that maybe he wasn’t the right man for the job.

Kupchak recently told reporters that he’d prefer for whoever is hired to have some head coaching experience. My question is–Why? By definition, each and every coach who’s out of a job was fired before he was last hired. He didn’t do a good enough job at his last job to be retained, so why are we supposed to believe that he can lead our team out of the lottery, through an ultra-quick rebuilding stage and back to the promised land?

All the greats were once first-time head coaches. Phil Jackson took over the Bulls from Doug Collins once upon a time. Gregg Popovich went 17-47 in his first season leading the Spurs. Erik Spoelstra took over the Heat despite having zero NBA playing or head coaching experience and we all see how that worked out.

Look, I know that choosing a young guy who’s not established is inherently riskier. But the fact of the matter is that the Lakers aren’t in their normal position. They don’t have established veterans who are one piece away from a championship. There’s work to be done- this rebuild will more than likely be a multi-year process if we’re calling a spade a spade. The established names that have been thrown around, like Tom Thibodeau, probably don’t want to leave their current winning ways to undertake a full rebuild.

The Lakers are traditionalists, for sure. They were, after all, the last team to send a representative to the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Just as they look for coaches with experience, they look for players with experience, and the team has long preferred to trade draft picks in hopes of acquiring established stars to help them avoid a rebuilding period. But you know who else are traditionalists? The Boston Celtics. But after realizing that their aging core would never topple the Miami Heat, they blew things up by trading away their best players and securing future draft picks. And who did the Celtics hire to lead them through the dark years? Brad Stevens, a first-time NBA coach who was the head coach of Butler before the Celtics. Yes, the Celtics hired a coach from a college mid-major.

The number 7 pick will result in a hyper-talented, likely raw player who will require development to become a star. The type of player the Lakers come up on about once every 10 years. The roster will be different, and I believe the man coaching the roster should be different to. I know it’s blasphemous to say, but the Lakers need to look toward a younger, more energetic guy to lead the team. That way, both the coach and roster can develop together. And in the process, maybe, just maybe, you stumble upon an all-time great coach. Because all-time great coaches don’t fall into your hands after getting fired by their previous teams.

Daniel Rapaport


123 responses to Lakers’ Search for Young Talent Should Extend to Coaching Hire Too

  1. melcountscounts May 22, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I tend to agree, but I think Kobe throws it out of whack, don’t think he could take orders from a coach totally new to the NBA. Much as I’m against retread hires, I really think Jeff Van Gundy would be a good pick. Good with the media, good coach, would bust his butt for another chance with a storied franchise. I can see Kobe being on the same page with him….

    Couldn’t agree more about the draft, start building with your own home grown stars-it’s about time. I still get sick thinking about all the picks given up for a broken down Steve Nash, what lunacy.

  2. So we’re pretty much talking about Fish

  3. Quin Snyder

  4. Spot on right here. I’m also wondering why coaching experience is so necessary for the Lakers. I wondered aloud what the hoopla was over Kerr. But that situation is different. Golden State is a team trying to turn the corner from “competitive” to true title contender. It makes sense for them to go for coaching experience and shun a rookie coach, even though they didn’t.

    But the Lakers are at square one. I think having Kobe on the roster makes some believe otherwise. Kobe or not, this team is in full on rebuilding mode. Why not find a great young mind who can connect with and lead a new generation of players? The retread thing just isn’t working.

  5. The Luke Walton rumors have my interest piqued a bit. I think Fisher needs a year or two as an assistant someplace before making the jump to head coach, or he could have similar issues to Jason Kidd’s early last season. It ended well, but going right from “teammates” to “I’m the coach” is weird. A bit of distance so you’re not coaching (or coaching against) guys you played with four months ago seems wise to me.

  6. Warren Wee Lim May 22, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Here are some coaches to consider and their records before they were replaced or fired:

    George Karl – 57 wins, coach of the year.
    Lionel Hollins – 56 wins.
    Jeff Van Gundy – 52 wins.
    Mark Jackson – 51 wins.

  7. If you really want to think outside the box, how about David Blatt who just won the Euroleague title and is widely considered one of the top coaches (if not the best head basketball coach) overseas. Of course, he would have to be accepted by Kobe. But he would not be one of the “usual suspects” who’s coached for 6 teams and been fired by them all and run out of town repeatedly.

    Another possibility would be Ettore Messina, the famous European coach whom Kobe knows and who worked for the Lakers for one year and who has won 4 Euroleague titles. He has near legendary status in Europe.

    Would the Lakers be ready to go to Europe, then, for their next head coach? I think that would be a better option than bringing in a rookie. Also, I just don’t think the Lakers are open to the possibility of hiring someone who has never been a head coach before.


  9. Ettore Messina is the best bet imo. He is very experienced, commands respect, knows how to win championships, stresses defense, uses his big men correctly and is not afraid of big egos. His teams have an offensive identity, but he is not dogmatic. On top of all this, he is also a breath of fresh air in the NBA since he has never worked here as a HC. Best of both worlds!

  10. I have said before that I would not mind a college guy or an NBA guy with no head coaching experience (or maybe no coaching experience at all). Fisher would be perfect.

    However it is academic. Because this race is over except for the announcement as to who won : )

  11. Dunleavy is a solid rebuild kind of coach. You can get 1 or 2 years out of him then he goes power mad. His comments towards players after they leave show some of his (lack of) coaching character. There is no creativity within his coaching. That being said, no more Mike’s.

    Similarly, these older coaches are known commodities with known reps. I was also down on D’Antoni because he seemed a-holish and power mad without the results. Jalen Rose’s recent podcast episode on Grantland is a reflection of how some coaches operate with personal vindictiveness to the detriment of team sports. His story was about Larry Brown but it is a template for certain others.

    This season was the final straw in me being somewhat punch-drunk in terms of viewing basketball. Mid-season, since the first time since Magic retired (announcement) I found I couldn’t watch games anymore. Phil’s final disaster season to Brown to D’Antoni to… Del Harris Jr.? I don’t have a problem if they bring in what qualifies as an interim coach as long as it computes — The Nash was going to make Howard change his spots rationale was always a reach to me (a MDA justification).

    No George Karl. I like him as a coach… for someone else’s team. He whines too much and vocalizes basketball conspiracy theories.

    Scott: NJ to the finals 2x. Sub par with Hornets and Cleveland. Given the structure/history of Cleveland, who could have won with those teams? (Similar for Rambis in M’sota given that he was under Khan and a loser of a franchise.) Grates on players who he considers not working hard.

    Whomever the Lakers get, I want them coaching a hell of a defensive team. I can be fine for a little more time with a non-championship team as long as I see them leaving it all on the court defensively and a sense of creativity on offense. Maybe that’s Lionel Hollins with a strong offensive coordinator. Maybe it’s someone new. Just pick better damn coaches who aren’t arrogant enough to nail their post man to four feet past the 3 point line.

  12. JB,

    Based on the comments of Kevin Durant and Nick Colison, Derek Fisher already has the coaching cache. He’s been in the league for 18 years. He’s won titles and hit some really big shots in his career. He’s universally seen as a great leader of men. He’s been a key figure in the players union for years now. When he walks into a locker room now even as a player he is already commanding more respect than many head coaches.

    I think Fish is ready. Now that doesn’t mean he is ready to take over a contender. But a team starting from scratch could do a lot worse than Derek Fisher.

  13. Byron Scott!!

  14. They should go with the best guy for the job at this moment of time. Simple concept, if not a simple choice. I don’t think it matters if a coach “failed” other places unless the reason it didn’t work is directly related to something you’re looking for in a coach. D’Antoni was a known quantity, success validated in PHX, so if you like his approach, feel he’s right for the personnel, you hire him. The new coach needs to be a good fit with Kobe. Whether you like his extension or not, it makes little sense for the Laker FO to run counter to their own decision to make Kobe the dominant piece of the roster. Because of Kobe, and then more so if they somehow keep Pau, it’s not the same conditions as in Boston.

  15. I feel the next coach should be flex able and not another stubborn uncompromising guy.

    Watching Fish throw up brick after brick in this series, that’s not him. Live ya Dish but stop shooting!


  16. I think that the Lakers are waiting on the conclusion of OKC’s run to interview Fish and that the choice of coach will be between Fish (if he is ready to retire and is interested in coaching) and Byron Scott. Just a gut feeling,

    Both men have strong Lakers’ ties and achieved their greatest success as players as prominent members of the Purple and Gold. Both have deep relationships with Kobe Bryant and his respect. I would opine that both would be acceptable and mostly popular with a fanbase that was frustrated with the last two hires of head coaches.

    I can’t imagine a team that is as clueless on defense as last year’s Lakers if either Scott or DFish is hired. Both men exhibited pride and toughness as Lakers. The Lakers face a hard journey back to the top of the league. Having a stable coaching staff is an awful big part of that. I believe that Derek or Byron both have the chops to spearhead such an effort.

    We hear a lot about Scott and his tenure in NJ. How he didn’t mesh with Jason Kidd and that he was in over his head. As someone who lives in NYC, I watched those Nets teams a lot. I thought Scott did a fine job there. To me, the frustration boiled up in Kidd after a 2nd straight Finals loss and that led to him throwing his head coach under the bus in the media. This is the main reason I’ve never cared for Kidd. Suffice it to say, after Scott left NJ, Kidd never reached the Finals with those Nets teams again. Coincidence?

    Time will tell who the Lakers think is the best man for the job. I hope they give Scott and Fisher serious consideration.

  17. Lets say Byron never played for the Lakers, would fans be excited about hiring him? No

  18. Kenny T – “I can’t imagine a team that is as clueless on defense as last year’s Lakers if either Scott or DFish is hired.”

    You realize the Cavs were bottom 3 in defense every year Scott coached them? And those teams had younger legs that what this current Laker team is going to have. D’antoni was one of the great scape goats in NBA history last year.

  19. For the record the Lakers say they are on the cutting edge of advanced stats and have said they don’t send people to SLOAN because they don’t want to share their ideas with the compitition.

  20. Dan…
    Good point about the Cavs. I still like Scott. It’s obvious from your last 2 comments that you don’t. Who do you think is a good choice? And since the Lakers have only a few players set and under contract for next year, how can you be so sure about the youth of their legs?

  21. Kenny T: Our legions are growing. This I becoming a landslide that Jim will not be able to hold back – he will be forced to do the obvious (for a change) Shaw and Jackson were as obvious. I also like the fact that Fisher is your backup. This will also bring Magic back into the fold.

    Dan: “Lets say Byron never played for the Lakers, would fans be excited about hiring him? No” I agree 100% – so what is the point? : )

  22. Fish or Byron Scott…

  23. Dan the Cavs were terrible no matter who coach them and their last draft picks atrocious after Irving, you cant make a cake out of crap.

  24. Dan the Cavs were terrible no matter who coach them and their last draft picks atrocious after Irving, you cant make a cake out of crap.

    Exactly the situation with MDA and the Lakers.

  25. Robert…
    “So what is the point?” Exactly! Why should being an ex-Laker matter in a negative sense? I see it as a positive. We need more ex-Lakers in the fold, IMO.

  26. I didn’t realize Byron had 13 years as a head coach.
    “Scott compiled a 416-521 coaching record over 13 seasons.”
    If that’s not a retread, I don’t know what is.

    D Fish all the way!!

  27. Its not the same Dan, the Lakers didnt had lottery picks like the Cavs did, that GM could not draft his way out of a paperback , if your triying to but thru the Draft and keep whiffin the picks? Despite everything and his faults as a coach MDA’s main issue was the unprecedented injuries this team had.

  28. JC Byron Scott rec

  29. JC Byron Scott record its wjat it is bc of the horrible Cavs teams he coached, including the one right after Lebron bolted, thats 19-63 right there.

  30. Confused how fans blame Byron’s horrible record in CLE on roster but don’t use that same thinking when it’s about MDA. Kind of funny actually.

  31. If the team was healthy the team would had made a run for the 8th seed. Like i said before the injuries more than anything did him in and like i said 1000 times, you could create an hybrid of PJ, Pat and Auberbach in a goverment lab and the results most probably been the same MDA’s main problem was his stubborness to adjust and that he wasnt PJ the FO the people that actually get paid to evaluate this things were willing to let him coach next season. But hey, the people that actually know are convinced that Byron will be in the final 3 or 2 when the time to make a decision comes. My 2 choices are Fish and Byron, the team needs a link to our past success and in Fish’s case if he gets the job, a chance to grow with the team, i dont understand why people would preffer old fossils like Sloan and George ( 1st round exit) Karl, im semi-warm to the idea of JVG coaching but thats about it, i dont know anything but the 1st 2 are my choices.

  32. ok Fern –
    so after Lebron left, Cleveland was awful, not necessarily Byron’s fault.
    But remember when he took that job? I do.
    It was already rumored that LBJ was on his way outta town.
    So B Scott took the job anyway, hoping for kind of a miracle or that owner Gilbert
    was gonna sway Lebron. Oops!
    I thought it was a weird move by Byron at the time – so he gets no pass from me
    for losing a bunch of games when he took the gamble to begin with -so yeah that choice is part of his resume. Get it?
    I thought he did well in NJ and w CP3 in NO….
    Here’s my real issue w Byron –
    and i voiced this here before – he doesn’t seem very cerebral to me.
    When I hear him speak he sounds kinda ‘street’ to me. No offense to him.
    Fisher has had that experience with the union, 5 rings w kobe, and he just feels more like
    the guy I want representing the team in all facets and situations.
    That’s just me & my two cents…

    Ko – Fish had 16 points in game 1 the other night
    not too many bricks there 🙂

  33. Do you guys seriously want a coach who thought single covering Shaq with Aaron Williams was a good idea?…..not only for one game, mind you, but for four consecutive games without making an adjustment?

    After the Mike and Mike disasters, I hope the Lakers find a coach who has a sharp basketball IQ, as well as leadership qualities that veterans like Kobe and Pau can follow.

  34. No we don’t.
    My longer post re Byron in mod.
    His decision to even take the Cleveland job was questionable since it was obvious to everyone except Dan Gilbert that Lebron was headed out of town.
    So that decision affects his resume – as it should.

  35. Landon Donovan has been my Derek Fiser for the last few years in football and I’ve made a lot of waves saying that he wouldn’t make the World Cup squad and pissed off a lot of people. So needless to say I’ve been celebrating for many reasons today. I’ve been proven right (which I always love) and the USA will be putting their best team on the pitch in Brazil (which I love even more)

  36. Lets say Byron never played for the Lakers, would fans be excited about hiring him? No


    Love it. I don’t see Byron as the answer. The Pat Riley Jr. mold of running guys until they pass out in practice won’t work in today’s NBA; the players hold too much sway anymore for a hardliner to be effective.

    I think Fish will be a great head coach someday, if he so chooses. But I would not think he’s ready to step in right away one year removed from playing. Also, hiring Fish — for better or worse — is a signal that next season is a rebuild. Many fans are OK with that if it’s a means to an end, but how would that play with Kobe? And with season ticket holders who believe it’s a birthright that they get playoff tickets every season?

    If Fish and Scott were the only two choices, I would go with Derek. But hopefully there are other options in play not named Dunleavy.

  37. Chris J
    I thought about the rebuild reflection of a Fish hire- here’s what I think –
    Kobe loves Fish so much he won’t mind.
    One of the few guys he trusts.
    In fact I believe it will signal to Kobe that his guy Fish will need Kobe’s help a bit adjusting to his new role – therefore empowering Kobe a bit.
    Kobe will feel needed as well as revered.
    Lastly I don’t think Kobe believes a coach is really necessary anyway – just give me the ball –
    (I’ll tell YOU when I’m tired)
    So a less is more tactic also works in our favor as it applies to a Fish hire and to soothe Kobe’s ego.

  38. That being said if Fish goes to NY – and I think he would prefer LA if offered – I like the ideas being floated here about Messina and Blatt. Don’t know them at all, but a good Euro resume should hold up here.
    (Unless your name’s Dantoni)

  39. If not Messina…how about Loggins????

  40. Listen. If we use European players in the NBA (some of whom have had a major impact on the sport), why don’t we use European coaches? Do we really think that they don’t know the game of basketball overseas?

    I’ve noticed some ambivalence about some of the “retreads” and “usual suspects” being named: B. Scott, M. Dunleavy, Mark Jackson, JVGundy, L. Hollins, etc., etc., etc.

    Then why not get creative and begin considering some of the outstanding–and, in some cases, legendary–coaches from Europe? In my earlier post I mentioned David Blatt and Ettore Messina. It would seem to me that interviewing Messina would certainly be a no-brainer. Just 3 years ago, he was a Lakers employee (as a consultant to Mike Brown). The rumor is that he is being coveted by the Spurs who might want him to be the top assistant under Popovich next year. Also, Kobe and Messina know each other. Furthermore, Mitch Kupchak and Messina know each other. And Messina has 4 Euroleague championships under his belt. Why not talk to him? David Blatt, meanwhile, just won a Euroleague title last week. Both of these might be outstanding candidates, possibly far better than the so-called “retreads” mentioned above.

    I’m no expert on European ball. But Mitch certainly should be aware of their resumes and achievements. Maybe it’s time for the Lakers to blaze a trail and be the first NBA franchise to hire a European head coach. If they were to do so, this could be the start of something new.

  41. JC

    In the 15 playoff games he is shooting 32% from field and 25% from 3.

    Are you drinking that wine today?

  42. @Mid-Wilshire In Europe Messina’s rep has been going down over the last few years. I talked to pro coaches who think he shouldn’t be considered among the top coaches anymore, that he seems to either be resting on past achievement, or just hasn’t been able to keep evolving with the game.

    I don’t know, but these were fellow pro-coaches’ opinions.

  43. Renato Afonso May 23, 2014 at 2:59 am

    The Dane, you’re kind of right. However, bear in mind that within FIBA Europe he’s still one of the guys teaching other coaches. I’m not in favor of getting Messina for the Lakers, and I’m sure he would jump at the opportunity to coach in the NBA, but I agree that he will probably be a better option than Byron Scott or Jerry Sloan… Now, Blatt on the other hand is not resting in past achievements and he’s the best at adjusting his gameplan to the roster available. I want to start the “get Blatt in the next plane to LA” campaign right away.

    On a similar note, George Karl is also very good at that but is a bit late with in-game adjustments or even adjustments in a playoff series. I simply don’t know if getting a European coach before having our roster more or less defined is such a good idea. Remember that practice in Europe is far more intense than in the NBA (82 games is a lot) and there’s a learning curve to that. My first season as a coach we actually over-achieved our expectations but the guys were totally gassed during the final 3 or 4 weeks of play (which actually costed us the national university title – different systems, I’ll explain more in a later date). That season, we played a grand total of 55 games which is probably more than most teams in Europe. Real Madrid may play up to 79 games this season and that’s probably the most a team can play this season. Remember that 47 of those Real Madrid games will be played in Spain which is roughly the size of Nevada and Utah combined. So, because there’s much less travel, practices are more intense and more specific.

    I think that the Lakers have enough people with knowledge to help an European coach make the transition and adjust to the training schedules in the NBA and he would obviously adapt way faster than I could ever imagine but, there’s still a learning curve and less practice means that offensive and defensive execution won’t be as sharp as the coach expects. So, I don’t think we would get the result we want for Kobe’s last two seasons.

    However, if there’s a season to make this transition and see if it works out, this is it. We’re not winning the title next season or in 2015 but if the team actually overachieves just a little bit because of good coaching, then it will be worth the gamble. I think everyone wants to find the new Poppovich and this is may be the best chance we get to take that leap.

    On a side note: some of the best coaches in Europe are actually in the former Yugoslavian republics. While they’re very good (maybe even the best) their authoritarian ways would not translate well to the NBA.

  44. @ The Dane,

    Thanks for your note. This is helpful. This is where my ignorance of the European basketball world hinders me.

    So…if not Messina, then why not interview David Blatt? After all, he’s been highly regarded for years and less than 2 weeks ago just guided his Tel Aviv team to a Euroleague title.

    My larger point remains: shouldn’t the Lakers be meeting with Europe’s best head coaches? Shouldn’t they be widening their search to include the finest candidates in the basketball world, wherever they reside whether in Madrid or Moscow or Tel Aviv or New York or LA? If Europe turns out the occasional great basketball player (and it does), doesn’t Europe also turn out the occasional great coach? I’d be amazed if that weren’t the case.

    The Lakers have a head coaching vacancy. I would think that they should leave no stones unturned. Doesn’t that make sense? Should the Lakers interview David Blatt for this job? Or others from Europe?

  45. Byron Scott will never coach the Lakers

  46. Continuity on the sidelines has a big impact on the perception of a team. With so many changes in our head coaches is it any wonder why everyone feels the Lakers are in disarray.
    We all recognize this is an important hire for the team on many levels. Plus the job is much more difficult as the talent on the roster is far below where it was when PJ left 3 years ago.

    This is why I believe the team should hire a younger more energetic coach. There is a good chance that the team will not compete for the next few years simply because we have to acquire more talent and that takes time. Complicating this is Kobe – he will be adamant that we have to win now as his window is only open for two more years. So you need a coach that can manage Kobe but understand that developing younger players is the only way the team can be successful long term.

    Many of the candidates brought up, Dunleavy, Scott etc. will be in a ‘win now’ mode. That is not where the Lakers are – we are at least two years away from that. Bottom line, I think Derek Fisher is the way to go. He is tough enough to endure the rebuild and his ‘coaching clock’ won’t push him to deviate from the ‘develop the younger players’ approach.

    Now, I could be completely wrong and the FO thinks because we have Kobe/Nash and can resign Pau that we can be competitive. If that is the case, then a Scott or Karl may be appropriate. However, I think if we pursue that approach then we will be wasting these next two years. It means we will trade the future for ‘win now’ veterans. It ultimately means we haven’t reached the bottom yet as that won’t come until the contracts brought on board to help Kobe ‘win now’ roll off the books a few years after he retires. It means we likely won’t be competitive until the end of the decade.


    It’s over. Donald read the writing on the wall and between his original comments, the cnn interview, and the “private club” constitution that the NBA has – he picked the reasonable and inevitable option and has decided to get out while the money is high. If he had decided to fight, a protracted battle would’ve led to an exodus of players, staff, Doc, and started to kill the franchise value. And the NBA wields the hammer as to who they can sell it to as well.

  48. Teri: I like your coaching ‘biological clock’ analogy.

    You are correct that an older veteran coach is going to be a win now mode. The Lakers need to acquire young talent (through the draft and wise FA signings) and develop a winning team. This means our coach has to be willing to let youngsters play and endure their mistakes. A veteran coach may be unwilling to do that because it likely means losses.

    This is why it is so important for the FO and the coach to be on the same page.

  49. Mid
    Yes it surely makes sense for the team to expand its horizons to include Euros.
    Hopefully the Lakers read FB&G.

    Jo Houston
    Oddly ominous post.
    Do you have a plan in mind to ensure this?

    Not wine.
    I’m drinking the Derek Fisher Kool-Aid and
    I want everyone to drink it with me.
    (Not to be confused with Shaq soda)

  50. With an experienced NBA coach you should have an idea of what you are getting. I think George Karl is the best coach out there thats available.

    When you go with a young coach you are betting on his Strength of character and personality. If the Lakers go in that direction I’m swayed that Fisher would be a sensible choice. He would have Kobe’s respect and it is always said that Fisher is a strong leader in the locker room. I don’t know if he will be a great X’s and O’s coach or not and I do worry he might have a bit of an ego. I remember the drama about possibly relegating him to the bench in his last years on the Lakers. But I think he would be the best choice for a young coach,

  51. Re: Kobe

    Kobe’s deal is now his golden handcuffs. The team can’t spend as freely on better players due to his deal. As a result the idea of “contending” while he is still here is out the window. At the same time, no team will take him in a trade due to his salary. So Kobe is stuck. And the FO knows this. He is effectively a lame duck when it comes to pulling strings in the organization.

    I honestly don’t think Jim and Mitch care much about Kobe’s demands for a competitive roster. Mitch has already alluding to their plan being a multi-year plan. They are not changing that because Kobe fumes in the media. And I doubt very seriously if they are very concerned with his opinion on the next coach. They didn’t consult him when they replaced Phil. And that was when he was three years younger and not coming off two major injuries.

  52. so Daniel, here we are, friday and lakers still in search of a new-ish younger looking, somewhat experienced, able to leap tall buildings head coach: someone young, someone old, someone borrowed; someone blue in the face.

    old candidates: jeff van gundy; george karl; aarp; etc, etc
    young(ish) candidates: derek fisher (has anyone actually asked him?); or even luke walton? ,etc, etc
    middle age candidates: byron scott; mark jackson; etc, etc.
    euro candidates: messina; blatt
    college candidates: this guy and that guy…or maybe the other guy; kinda young; kinda old; kinda experienced but not too much so.

    mind boggling? not an easy task considering the list and circumstance.

    someone who currently fits all the traits mitch kupchak is looking for in a head coach: etc

    Go lakers

  53. Darius,
    Why not conduct a poll of FB&G posters here and
    submit the “next Laker coach” winner to the Laker FO?
    Surely they’ll factor in our humble opinions.
    My vote counts double for thinking of the idea.

  54. I totally disagree with this writers premise. There are tons of great coaches who get fired over something other than the on court product. Are George Karl, Lionel Hollins, Mark Jackson, and possibly Scotty Brooks worthless retreads? What about Mike Woodson? Sure the Knicks quit on him this year but he got more out of that franchise than anyone has in years and years and he also built the hawks up from complete basement dwellers to solid contenders for many years in a row. Does Stan Van Gundy suck as a coach because Miami and Orlando jettisoned him? Gimmie a break. This writer would rather we hire a mid major college coach or an uproven assistant? Maybe if one blows away jimmy and Mitch but to act like hiring a guy who got fired is a terrible move is just crazy talk.

  55. J C: That is unnecessary. We all know that he FO reads this board directly : )

    Teri: I like the way you are thinking and in spite of my support for Byron, I favor the young (not expected to win) coach idea. I also like the ex-Laker angle, which is why Fish is a great candidate. However, WHEN Byron gets it, I will be fine with that. It will be a good move for the Laker Family.

    Byron: In addition to his player rings, and his Coaching experience in the Finals, Byron will be the best dressed/best looking coach since Riles. This is important especially in troubling times. Do you want someone like MD with their tie flying around some crazy expression on their face, or do you want Byron looking dapper and stoic in the mode of his mentor – Pat Riley.

    He is already on the job:

  56. J C: good idea; but since you’re asking darius to submit; Byron Scott would be persona non grata.

  57. Jo Houston May 23, 2014 at 7:16 am
    “Byron Scott will never coach the Lakers” Is that u Jimbo? If not, how the hell would u know?

  58. I dont support a euro coach for the simple fact that as good the Euroleague is it dont hold a candle to the NBA talent wise and im not sure if an euro coach could make a succesful transition to a star driven league.

  59. Robert: ok, so when the time is right, and let’s be honest, who knows when, let’s put all the names of laker coaching prospects into jim buss’s cap and let james worthy draw out the 7th best candidate. trade that candidate after july 1st and burn the cap.

    Go lakers

  60. Fern

    I enjoy your posts and mostly agree with you. Just on little thing from a guy who makes plenty of errors driving while posting.

    It’s just that don’t , doesn’t thing on your post.s. Having a 9 year old son and an Eastern European wife, I already spend half my time correcting grammar and I like posts to much to allow that issue distract me .

  61. I like posts to much
    Don’t wake up the grammar police!

  62. I know I know my problem is that posting while driving. It’s the 2nd look for errors that scares me into grammar issues.

    That Don ‘t thing gets me because my Serbian wife does it and it’s caused numerous fights. She speaks 4 languages and I barely speak one. I like Fern and in my feeble way was trying to help.

    I now shut up and will go smoke a cigar.

  63. Renato Afonso May 23, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Fern, what about NCAA coaches? The NCAA “unfinished products” also don’t hold a candle to the NBA talent-wise and yet some make the transition. Some actually work out, some don’t, right?

  64. David Blatt. Interview him.

    Messina, too.

  65. Ko im posting from my phone and i have big fingers, excuse moi… and When i see a euro coach coaching here and be sucessful then i believe it, despite the difference of talent college coaches are more akin to the type of basketball played in the US.

  66. Fern,

    People used to say the same thing about Euorpean players. They’re just not ready for the NBA. Then Dirk came over…and Pau…and Tony Parker…and Marc Gasol…and Goran Dragic.

    I remember when the USA basketball team (with NBA players) got beat by Greece. We were clearly out-coached…by a European coach.

    I think it’s time to widen our thinking. It’s a new era. And there are great coaches everywhere.

  67. Renato Afonso May 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Blatt is actually Israeli-American and played for Princeton before going to Israel to play professional basketball. He was a PG at Princeton in the late 70’s/early 80’s. So, if there’s a coach in Europe that’s able to do the transition successfully, it’s him, in my opinion. Regarding seeing to believe it, I’m on board with that: someone just has to make the first move. Do you remember when international players were disregard simply because they weren’t born in the US? Do you think that Divac would go 26th in the ’89 draft again, if we did it again?

    Now, one thing that NBA coaches/coaching staff have over european coaches is talent development. Contrary to popular belief, most pro coaches in Europe are not that good in player development because the athletes they have in their rosters are usually more polished than their american counterparts. Anyway, I think it’s worth testing it… (I’ll admit that I’m biased because, well, I’m european…)

  68. I know almost nothing about European coaches, so I won’t offer any advice to the Lakers. But I think it would be a riskier move. An individual international player adapting to the NBA game and American culture must be a different set of issues than for a coach, who needs to bond closely with his players, have them buy into his system and run through walls for him.

    It would be jaw-dropping to discover that the Laker FO isn’t aware of European coaches, and doesn’t already have a considered opinion about hiring one. If they don’t interview any, then my first thought won’t be that they didn’t know any better.

  69. Ko i always post from my phone and i have big fingers so if i make gramar errors well,pffft. And Renato where is the sucesful euro coach that had made the transition? College coaches are rarely successful btw as not one has ever been close to win a championship. Calipari and Pitino 2 of the most successful coaches in college came to the pro game and fell flat on their faces, Jerry Tarkanian too. PJ Carlessimo is the most successful one and his record is like 100 games under 500. So not one has worked out. If in a inplausible scenario Messina comes to the Lakers, Kobe Bryant will eat him alive. I hope my granmar was of your liking Ko and dont text and drive your going to kill yourself…

  70. Mid c’mon those teams were not coached it was about “letting them play and talent 1 on 1 would overcome anything they throw at us” Puerto Rico first and then Greece teach them the error of their ways…

  71. Renato Afonso May 23, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    I’m not saying there’s a successful coach out there that actually made the transition. I’m saying that maybe it’s about time the coaches in Europe get some interviews…

  72. david h: “burn the cap.” Anything that leads up to that – I am in favor of it.
    Ko: Enjoy that cigar. Was in Tampa (Purple – was a Chevelle/A7X concert) a few weeks back and went to the YBor district. Place there gets the tobacco straight from Dominica, they hand roll it in front of you and put it in a Conn wrapper, you walk over to Coyote Ugly, order some beers, and smoke that bad boy. Makes me forget about Jim.
    Fern: We got this. It is like a Sunset over the Pacific. The end result is known – enjoy the process. Just Google – Byron + “Perfect fit” It is all right there.

  73. I take strong exception to your analysis of D’Antoni’s unfortunate time as head coach. Laker fans did not want him and his biggest supporter was Bill Simmons who never was or will be a Laker fan. It never made sense to bring a high paced offense to a team with a center recovering from back surgery, a geriatric point guard who needed to lie on his back during games, and a shooting guard trying to extend his career for a few more years. Mitch did not buy into it either or he would have done a better job of finding players who could run and chuck up 3’s. The only way to make Kobe relevant would be to put in an offense that would allow him to either post up or shoot mid-range 2’s and hide him on defense.

    If the Lakers do decide to go with someone who does not have NBA coaching experience then who is going to be his mentor? Riley could get away with hiring a noob because he needed someone who would do what he was told. Riley supplied the experience and gravitas with the players. Right now, who in the Laker FO do the players respect? Mitch is right to go after someone with a track record and hope he can gain Kobe’s trust.

  74. Eant some cheese with that?

  75. *Want* Sorry KOOO!!!!

  76. Sorry Fern. Just playing here on the ugly freeway. I am on your side as reader and fan.

  77. Fern

    I don´t buy your argument. I think that each year´s Euroleague top 4 would all be in the mix for a playoff push in the current east. I also think that the Bucks, Sixers and Magic would have a hard time beating Maccabi or Real. Hell, even last season´s Lakers would probably lose

    People often say that the Spanisch league is the second best after the NBA, but I´d rather say that the Euroleague is the second strongest league in the world. I would go as far as saying that the quality of play in the Euroleague is better than the quality of play in the NBA regular season on average. Best ball in the world, of course, is played during the NBA playoffs. No doubt about that.

    So.. No. I don´t believe that European coaches are inferior. I have played under American and European coaches and while they are different in terms of style, they are definitely equal in quality.

  78. Renato Afonso May 24, 2014 at 2:34 am

    Manuel, are you spanish or portuguese?

  79. Neither. 🙂 I am German.

  80. Seems like my answer is stuck in mod. Well, I am neither. I am German.The name is a little misleading.

  81. Renato Afonso May 24, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Oh, that really is a misleading name you got there 😉 Played against a couple of German teams back in the day…

  82. Sorry about the comas Kooo in the comment stuck in mod lol.

  83. Well, I’m not European. I’m an American (born and raised in Tucson, Arizona). And I still think it’s a good idea to interview 1 or 2 of Europe’s best coaches.

    Personally, I have no horse in this race. I don’t care if the next Lakers head coach is from the U.S. or Europe or Timbuktu. I simply think a head coach matters (see San Antonio Spurs) and I want the Lakers to get the best man for the job.

    Would it be that difficult to interview Blatt and Messina? If they’re ever going to do it, now is the time. What do the Lakers have to lose?

  84. Was in Tampa (Purple – was a Chevelle/A7X concert)
    haha, you never fail to impress Robert! A true music fan –
    Just last weekend I was headbanging with a bunch of metal heads down here to a local metal band that´s been around for like 25years now. Lotsa triplets on the bass drums, soaring guitar solos à la Dio & that throaty, gravelly lead vocal to boot! You´da been proud of me man, hanging with the younguns – (oh, & checking out some of the r&r cuties didn´t hurt either 😉
    As for the head coaching gig:
    DFish does make sense (most of you here have described the pros and cons already) , but is he interested in coaching already?

    BScott´s strong ties with us, and his relationship with KB are attractive as well, but as one or two have pointed out, would we be `retreading´ again?

    QSnyder seems to me to be a good way to go; & I believe KB would want to work closely with him. Why would he derail his own (seemingly slim) opportunities at another title by belittling a young guy at the helm? It´s on the FO to determine if Q would be smart enough to give KB his `coaching due´ both on the floor and off.

  85. Robert/Purple

    As former owner of a chain of record stores (Peer Records) and a management company for 18 years, I can only say one thing!

    I honestly don’t remember a thing!

  86. I honestly don’t remember a thing!
    hahahaha, it must´ve been a hell of a good time then!

  87. Yea

    I went from Rolex and Ferrari then to Timex and Ford now so I guess it was fun?

  88. Let me get this off my chest….. Roy Hibbert is a joke, no wonder they went after Andrew Bynum. The guy is what we in the hood call “Big for Nothing”. He can’t make a lay up, brings the ball down instead of continuing the play like most athletic bigs do now, and just tosses the ball at the rim. He is Soft!!! If I had him on mind team he would drive me nuts. Don’t let me even start about the two rebounds!!! Indy’s back up is just as bad. Miami couldn’t win a game if the refs called a clean game. Indy was beating their skulls in before the refs decided to foul the best of Indy to the bench. Pitiful!! I understand that the powers that be want a HeatSpurs final, but Miami did not deserve it until that fourth quarter push.

    As far as our search, we need a coach that understands that Pau (if still here), Kobe and Nash are older, slower players. We need someone in the mode of Pop who will install a system the will best utilize them. I beg for a retread such as Lionel Hollins or George Karl because these guys know how that type offense works. The Lakers need some luck in getting a player like Loul Deng. He would be an excellent defender and a person who just plays the game well. He could impart some of the Thibs wisdom since getting the actual Thibs may not be a reality. The Love a thon may never come to fruition so we need to build our team with the most realistically attainable individuals we can. I still dream of Love, but not as much.

  89. Busboys4me…
    Hibbert was given some beautiful set ups and got turned back at rim at least twice. Those were huge momentum changers. Miami’s game is dependent on spot up 3s by their role players. Ray Allen put them over the top tonight. In order to beat the Heat, everybody has to defend their man honestly. Easier said than done.

    Indiana needs a penetrating point guard that can dish the ball. Stevenson dribbles too much and George Hill displays no ability to pass off when he drives. He always winds up trying a difficult layup. And Mr. George has yet to show he can flourish and lead his team in true superstar fashion when the bright lights are shining. It’s back to the drawing board for Indy.

  90. Kenny T.

    Good points. Lance Stephenson is a ball-hog and a ball-stopper supreme. The guy misses players cutting to the basket and stops the flow of the offense. He is a two who wishes he was a pg. The Gilbert Arenas Instagram is an accurate depiction of Mr. Stephenson’s game. Mr. George is not ready for Prime Time. I don’t know if it’s concussion related or confidence related. He made a comment during the game “shoot with confidence” so there is no telling.

  91. Warren Wee Lim May 25, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Jeff Van Gundy is being considered by the Grizz to coach and to have final roster decisions.

  92. Busboys4me…
    Indy’s coach showed his inexperience as well. He did nothing to stop the Heat’s momentum at the end of the first half. The lead for his team went from 15 to 4. And David West guarding Ray Allen in the 4th was a classic mismatch in Miami’s favor. As for Paul George, he wasn’t playing that well before the concussion. I just think he’s still a work in progress who defers too much.

  93. Busboys & Kenny T,
    enjoyed the posts on yesterday´s Pacers/Heat game; i wasn´t able to watch it, so your thoughts add so much more to the 2 or 3 minute highlights i saw awhile ago – thanks
    my man KO,
    I completely dig what you´re getting at, more than you know. (i didn´t have a Ferrari, however. 🙂
    All the best to you and your family (your young son is lucky to have a father with so much life experience. An rare advantage for someone his age, for sure.)

  94. Lakers Rumors: Team Plans To Interview Lionel Hollins For Coaching Job

  95. Thanks Purple

    If only I could get him to stop introducing me as grandpa at 4th grade events.

    Funny kid.

  96. Ko
    It sounds like you went from Vinyl to Vino.
    Aging gracefully!
    Now that’s a trick.

  97. “Jeff Van Gundy is being considered by the Grizz to coach and to have final roster decisions.” So I guess he is completely out of the running for the LAL. We do not even give our GM the ability to make roster decisions.
    Clips: As rr pointed out before, this change of ownership has the possibility of being another blow to the Lakers. When a new cool ownership team takes over the Clips, then then will have the Pacific Ocean, the Staples Center, and the celebrities. But they will also have a cool ownership group and an attractive roster. We will have a baseball cap and a not so attractive roster. Any LA bound type will lean toward them.
    Spurs: If they go up 3-0 or 3-1 in this OKC series – that will be the start of the official TNT/ESPN Pop/Duncan worship fest. And if Indiana wins there will be nothing to stop it.

  98. Here’s a good interview w Lionel Hollins.
    I like this guy:

  99. The refs have made some curious calls thus far in this game. How about Ibaka…that guy can friggen play.

  100. I hope more of you watch the interview with Lionel Hollins. You will come over to my side. He is the coach for the Lakers. He is the no nonsense kind of coach that Kobe will respect and he knows player strengths. We will play the team-ball that we are best suited for. If not a lot of guys will either not play or they won’t be there. Pau, Kaman and especially Kobe will benefit from that type of coach.

  101. If only I could get him to stop introducing me as grandpa at 4th grade events.

    Funny kid.
    hahahaha, so you are Al Lewis after all! ; D

  102. Woj says Hollins is next in Interview-a-palooza:

    “Hollins’ history of strong defensive preparation and results, as well as a serious-minded leadership style, assuredly will appeal to Lakers star Kobe Bryant”

  103. Fish

    Love ya dude but I hope you don’t get a bunch of guys to coach who think they can shoot but can’t.

    Another 1 for 7

    Under 30% for playoffs. Marshall vs Fisher game of horse might take awhile.


  104. Liked the way Hollins sounded, too. Ibaka may be the real MVP of that OKC team, huh?

  105. It makes sense for coaches who have some real experience to want direct say in personell moves. Since coaches have become the fall guys for everything it makes sense to try to increase one’s chances for success. A coach can be doomed because his GM.

    Doc Rivers got that kind of deal. Stan Van Gundy got that kind of deal. Jeff Van Gundy would surely require a similar agreement in order to coach again. I wonder if the Lakers are open to giving a coach that kind of power?

  106. Warren Wee Lim May 25, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    The coordination between GM and coach is necessary, but they don’t have to be the same guy. We’ve done it for so long.

    The Lakers need to find a coach that will suit whoever is in the present (Kobe, Pau) and the pick’s skillset representing the future. I hope its not Byron Scott.

  107. Warren Wee Lim May 25, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I still advocate moving forward from the Pau era of basketball. Somewhere down the line we’ll come to terms with the reality that he and Kobe occupying 55% of our payroll will not be beneficial. I’d look for cost-effective players out there that will compliment Kobe’s big salary and declining play.

    Jordan Hill is a good teammate and he can develop with more minutes. He’s not infallible nor is he Pau in his skills but we need more hustle skill players like him. I like the idea of retaining him and signing someone like Lowry to control our team as well as draft someone like Gordon, Vonleh or Randle.

    Then in 2015, a big time splash. If we can get Monroe too, why not. We need more athletic skilled big men as thats whats required moving forward. Lowry to captain the point with defense is.a very good summer.

    Lets not pin our hopes on Kevin Love as he’s headed to Golden State. The Bulls will try hard to acquire Melo and will surely keep Thibs.

  108. Career Leaders Playoffs 3-pt made:
    Ray Allen 371
    Reggie Miller 320
    Kobe Bryant 292
    Derek Fisher 282

    Career Leaders Playoffs 3-pt %:
    Bruce Bowen 42.2
    Steve Nash 40.6
    Ray Allen 40.2
    Derek Fisher 39.8
    Danny Ainge 39.8
    Reggie Miller 39.0

  109. It’s great to read so many thoughtful posts–especially the many that recognize the potential of Derek Fisher. I thought Derek was the best candidate years ago. He’s clearly available now.
    I think that he’s ready, but I don’t think that the Lakers as an organization are ready for him yet.

    The Lakers not only need a coach–they need a plan–and a front office capable of executing that plan. I don’t believe that the current front office, as constituted, is capable of either envisioning a coherent plan, or executing the plan in a collaborative manner with any coach.

    Brown and D’Antoni, problematic for sure, were victims of a bad system that should not have hired them in the first place; Jimmy and Jeanie are not replacing Jerry in a convincing manner. Even Mitch seems a bit out of place–blowing whichever way the wind blows. The system is dysfunctional..

  110. Some mock drafts show Lakers getting Randle.
    Hadn’t seen much of him but these highlights look pretty good:

  111. Randle’s biggest problem are his short arms.

  112. Warren Wee Lim May 26, 2014 at 8:22 am

    The Lakers have choices and they have not committed to one or the other – YET.

    Along with the draft pick, the Lakers need to establish the coach, which is a direction that the team wants to go. I can imagine that during the interviews, Mitch and Jim would ask the coach-candidate which among: Exum, Randle, Smart or Vonleh they would pick, and why.

    The news of Hollins interviewing is good news. He is my close 3rd choice from JVG and Mark Jackson.

    Derek Fisher will be a coach someday, it might be after he gets his 6th ring this offseason. But it might be with the Knicks.

  113. Those Randle highlights are from where… High school? Didn’t see too much of that from him in this year’s NCAA tournament.

  114. Randle highlights are from an AAU team called Texas Titans. Perhaps it’s post-high school, circa 2012. Still look fairly impressive and against players his own age, like looking at Dwight’s high school highlights, sure it’s only high school competition but that’s how much he stood out.
    Just gave me an idea of who the guy is.
    Tryin to stay positive since it looks like he may be coming to Lakerland!

    Ko those 3-pt stats were for u

  115. Aaron over Randle.

    Randle has arms like the NBA center that they used to tease because his arms were like a T-Rex…Kevin Willis. Aaron is 19 years old with the Lakers, Kobe, Nash, Pau?, and the right coach?, he could be special.

  116. Warren Wee Lim May 26, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I agree w/ Chearn about Aaron Gordon. He’s not the readiest to contribute but his sheer athleticism is a dire need for the team. Randle is not bad at all, despite his short arms, but in terms of need, defensively most esp, is where Aaron Gordon has a leg up.

  117. J C….
    Thanks for the clarification. Just hoping that the Lakers do their homework. Don’t have a large sample size, but I wasn’t that impressed with what I saw of Randle during the season or the tournament. To be fair, I only saw about 5 of his games. If the Lakers draft him, I hope I’m wrong.

  118. I think it’s difficult to come to reliable conclusions by watching highlight films. It seems like Randle had a clear physical advantage over most of the college kids that he played against. He won’t have the same advantage in the NBA.

    And it doesn’t seem like he did more than was necessary for the college level to develop his offensive arsenal. Apparently he can only finish with his left hand and doesn’t have a reliable jumper or much range. Not exactly the prototype of a modern PF considering how the game has developed in recent years. And we’re talking about his offense here. His defense is not much of a factor, anyway.

    I haven’t watched him a lot, but that’s why I’m not particularly thrilled about him right now. Even if he can make a successful transition to the NBA he might end up as one of those players who have great stats on mediocre teams.

  119. Gentry is next up for an interview w Lakers – wouldn’t be a bad fit and would be a good guy to be a caretaker coach for the next 2-3 years s this team transitions.

  120. I like Hollins but he beeds to prove he can move beyond the “grit and grind” style he put on place in Memphis. That is not what the Lakers are.

  121. I knew they werevJC But then I once shot 91% from the line on high school. Now be lucky to hit the rim.

    Age always wins.

  122. Anyone ever notice that you never see Alvin Gentry and Lionel Hollins at the same party?

    Fish may be aged and in a slump but I know he can still hit a few more before he’s gone.
    It won’t be long now.

    I wonder if Lakers are dragging their feet on a coaching hire until Derek becomes available to interview, at least?
    Has Phil already “announced” that Fish is his new coach?