It is now less than a month away from the start of the NBA free agency period, and it should not come as a surprise that the Los Angeles Lakers are still without a head coach in place.
Since Mike D’Antoni stepped down from the position on April 30, the Lakers have interviewed several candidates that include the likes of Mike Dunleavy, Byron Scott (twice), Lionel Hollins, Alvin Gentry, Kurt Rambis and an informal phone call discussing the job with George Karl. The list is expected to grow with Los Angeles looking to exercise all their options.
With that in mind, it is going to be a long dragged out process with multiple reports stating that the Lakers will wait to make hire until free agency begins on July 5 and the list of players who will be available is set, in particular LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. It is no secret that Los Angeles has had their eyes fixated on Anthony and James given reports last offseason stated the team had interest in both players.
This along with the fact they hold the seventh overall pick in the draft makes the search for the right head coach all the more important. There appears to be no rush to make their next hire as the proof was in the pudding with the last one. Looking back it, the Lakers made the rash decision to hire D’Antoni only a little over a week after Mike Brown was dismissed.
Los Angeles can make this process as thorough as possible because of how crucial it will be for the franchise moving forward. The next head coach will not only hold the responsibility of bringing the team back quickly into relevancy in the NBA, but also in the meantime dealing with the unknown that surrounds the roster with only a three players under contract heading into next season.
It is an extremely weighted job that holds plenty of responsibility that comes with it. The Lakers are not just any franchise, but one of the most decorated organizations in the entire league. This means that the playoffs will be a must year in and year out with realistic championship aspirations.
At this moment that sounds like a long shot with the current roster, but with the right coach in place things can quickly change. It is going to be a tough decision, and the Lakers appear to be on the same page with that line of thinking. The choice to wait until free agency is the right move, as it could be the bargaining chip needed in order to persuade a player such as James or Anthony to make Los Angeles their next destination in their career.
Even if both players are either unavailable or choose to go elsewhere, it will have been enough time for the front office to make a sound decision on who the team’s next head coach will be. Whatever the case may be, the Laker faithful must keep confidence that the team will make the right hire.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Nick Ut
Bob Garcia IV
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