Sports Out West

Lakers rumors: Mike Dunleavy a candidate for head coach job

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Lakers have considered the possibility of bringing in Mike Dunleavy to be the team’s next head coach, according to ESPN.com.

Dunleavy coached the Lakers from 1990-1992 to begin his 17-year NBA career on the sidelines that included stints with the Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers. 

After meeting with Phil Jackson to discuss the possibility of coaching the New York Knicks, Dunleavy may have offers for other vacancies if he so chooses to re-join the coaching ranks. He has a friendly relationship with the Zen Master as former players from the same era and share the bond of being in the de facto coaching fraternity. 

Mike D’Antoni resigned after the Lakers’ suffered through their worst season in franchise history after going 27-55. 

Dunleavy is an intriguing candidate because he’s one of few implementers of the triangle offense, which Jackson used to coach the Lakers to five NBA championships during his tenure in Southern California. After he left, the Lakers made an apparent effort to distance themselves from his schemes, instead going with Mike Brown and subsequently D’Antoni. 

Brian Shaw, who now coaches the Denver Nuggets, would have been the most fluid progression after Jackson left, but the late Dr. Jerry Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak decided against promoting from within. 

While Dunleavy would be a capable coach who could earn players’ respect, it’s difficult to see Los Angeles deciding to hire him because it would be a return to the very philosophy they worked to move away from. 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.