The Los Angeles Lakers are one of five NBA teams with a head coach vacancy, and it appears it won’t be anytime soon that the team fills the job or will look to Kobe Bryant for help on making a decision, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak in an interview with ESPN’s Andy Katz at the draft combine on Thursday in Chicago stated that the organization will likely begin the team’s head coach search after next Tuesday’s draft lottery, where they will find out what pick they will have in the first round. He also added that when the Lakers start their interviews, Bryant may possibly be excluded from process.
“From time to time we ask his advice,” Kupchak told ESPN’s Andy Katz at the NBA draft combine Thursday in Chicago. “He really won’t weigh in on something like this. I’m not even sure that we’ll talk to him prior to interviews. But from time to time, he is in our facility, I’ll go downstairs and I’ll talk to him about a bunch of different things.”
This statement comes just a week after Bryant had publicly lobbied for a part in the head coach search during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last week. The 35-year-old was not included in the team’s last two hires of Mike D’Antoni and Mike Brown, as the next will mark their third in the last four seasons.
However, Kupchak did state that he expects Bryant, who is signed for $48.5 million over the next two seasons, to be ready come the start of the regular season and be a major contributor to the team.
“We need some players,” Kupchak said of the Lakers, who currently only have three players signed for next season. “We don’t have many players under contract right now. Fortunately, we did sign a good player back in November: Kobe Bryant. So, we have him to rely on. He’s been working out every day at our facility. He looks good. And we have a bunch of free agents and some of the players on our roster last year, some of the younger players, played well. So we’re looking forward to maybe bringing some of those guys back and looking at the free-agent market and then once again, our lottery pick.”
As for who Los Angeles will interview, Kupchak had stated on Monday that the team will hire a head coach according to who they select in this year’s upcoming draft. After having the worst regular season in the franchise history with a 27-55 record, Los Angeles will have no lower than a top-nine selection and have a 21.5 percent chance of landing a top-three pick.
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Bob Garcia IV
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