NBA rumors: Darvin Ham, Adrian Griffin speak with Lakers about coaching job

The Lakers interviewed former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts and former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson in their search to replace Frank Vogel as head coach. Assistants Darvin Ham (Milwaukee) and Adrian Griffin (Toronto) have also spoken with the Lakers about the job.

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When the decision was made to fire Vogel, sources say his handling of Westbrook and the inability to find a way to make him a more productive part of the program were among the factors that played a big part. There was a strong sense that it was on Vogel to make the Westbrook experiment work, and the fact that it didn’t lead to questions about whether Westbrook had been put in a position to succeed. That sure smells like the hope of a Russ revival to me. And how’s this for a tidbit to tie this thread up: Jackson is known to have been a fan of Westbrook’s throughout his career. Sources say Phil Jackson has no interest in taking on this coaching job (or any other) himself — let’s just stop that rumor right here — but his view of Westbrook is relevant. As we’ve established, Jackson’s voice matters again.
Josh Lewenberg: Masai said he's been getting calls about Adrian Griffin, among other Raptors assistants. It would appear one of those calls was from the Lakers. "I think Adrian is right there on the cusp of becoming a head coach in this league"- Ujiri on Griffin yesterday.
Adrian Wojnarowski: “This is very much a committee in L.A. putting together this coaching search. And one person who is certainly significantly involved in this process is Phil Jackson. He’s got a voice in this. He did last time when they hired Frank Vogel. He and Kurt Rambis, (Vogel) had been somebody they had considered with the Knicks before hiring Derek Fisher in New York... They’re moving deliberately. They’re not doing seven or eight or nine candidates all at once. They’re kind of going down a list and taking their time with it. I think that process is going to take a bit.”
Josh Lewenberg: Masai Ujiri on reports of the Lakers' interest in Nick Nurse: "No team has contacted me. And I see all the stuff that you guys see. I dream like they dream. I want Messi. I want Renaldo. I want Kobe Bryant. So they can keep dreaming. I dream too."
Michigan's Juwan Howard is known to hold James' respect after their time together in Miami but is said to be firm in his desire to stay with the Wolverines to coach sons Jace and Jett. Toronto's Nick Nurse and Snyder — also frequently cited as candidates for the post — are not currently available, so pursuing them (or others under contract) comes with complications.
The Lakers' interest in Snyder as a successor to Frank Vogel is serious, sources say. There is nonetheless ongoing skepticism in coaching circles that Snyder would want to move from Utah — where he has enjoyed a considerable amount of control and influence — to take over the LeBron James-led Lakers in their current state after the never-ending chaos that engulfed Vogel's last two seasons. Vogel, remember, wasn't allowed to choose any of his primary assistant coaches and had to take constant input from Lakers front office adviser Kurt Rambis.
As we've been reporting here since March, San Antonio and the Lakers are believed to have interest in Snyder should he become available. In the Lakers’ case, actually, it has zoomed well past belief. There would certainly be other teams as well if Snyder became a coaching free agent despite Utah’s string of painful playoff endings after regular-season excellence.
Before hiring Frank Vogel in 2019, the Lakers negotiated with Monty Williams and Tyronn Lue. Per sources familiar with the discussions, the franchise offered three-year deals with less money than each demanded. They ended up offering the same deal to Vogel.
The Quin Snyder thing is interesting, just because Quin and Rob Pelinka have a friendship and relationship dating back many years. And you feel like if there was a coach who Rob would kind of get out of the way for... it would be Quinn.
And here’s a tidbit to monitor as the Lakers conduct their latest coaching search: Sources say James would be very enthused by the prospect of Mark Jackson landing the job. But as history tells us, that doesn’t mean it will actually happen.
Snyder, who is known for having very good offensive sets and a solid defensive foundation, has led the Jazz to the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. He was an assistant with the Lakers while on the staff of coach Mike Brown in 2011-2012. Not only is Snyder under contract with the Jazz for at least one more season, people not authorized to speak publicly on the matter said he has become less interested in the Lakers’ job because of how the Vogel firing was handled.
Nurse, who led the Raptors to the NBA championship in 2019, also has a few years left on his deal and no one from around the league thinks Toronto will let him leave. Nurse signed a multiyear contract extension in 2020 with two years still remaining on his current deal. As one person with knowledge of the situation said, “there hasn’t been anything substantiated by way of any discussion from any parties.” Nurse is represented by Klutch Sports, which also represents Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, both of whom have told friends that they like how Nurse coaches.
Although Rivers has three years left on his deal with the 76ers, a person familiar with his situation said he should not be discounted as a candidate. Rivers won an NBA championship with the Celtics in 2008 and lost a Finals rematch with the Lakers in 2010. Many people around the league feel Rivers has the clout and the respect to coach stars like James, Davis and Russell Westbrook.
According to people familiar with Howard’s situation, he wants to continue coaching his two sons, Jett and Jace, who both play at Michigan. Howard interviewed for the Lakers job that eventually went to Vogel in 2019. Howard was an assistant coach for six seasons with Miami and won two championships as a player with James and the Heat.
The most intriguing coaching names they likely will consider are Utah’s Quin Snyder, Toronto’s Nick Nurse, Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers and Michigan’s Juwan Howard, but all of those coaches are under contract. Steve Clifford, the former coach with the Orlando Magic, Terry Stotts, the former Portland Trail Blazers coach, and Darvin Ham, an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks, are names that have been mentioned among league insiders.

https://twitter.com/RyanWardLA/status/1513577397915844609
As The Athletic reported in January, Vogel was nearly fired after the Lakers suffered a 33-point loss in Denver, creating an uncomfortable and public dialogue about his future. “It’s not easy to shut it out,” Vogel said. “It’s not fun to have those reports hanging over your head or seeing it everywhere you look, especially so early in the season (and) after what we’ve been able to accomplish here. But to me, that pressure of expectation has been here since the day I signed on.”
Unsurprisingly, Vogel was unwilling to speculate on his future on Tuesday. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” he said. Even if he is not ready to discuss his fate, he seems to understand it. “It’s been a win-now job for each of the three years I’ve been here,” Vogel said.
That tepid extension opened the door to speculation about Vogel’s future and that chatter only intensified after the Lakers started the season 10-11, slipping under .500 with a triple-overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings. Some in league circles believed that Vogel would have been fired if the Lakers did not win their next game, at home against Detroit on Nov. 28, which they did — but only narrowly.
Doc Rivers, the Philadelphia 76ers’ head coach, is another active bench leader being mentioned by league personnel as a potential Lakers candidate. Rivers’ tenure in Philadelphia has also come into question of late, spurred by team president Daryl Morey’s deadline acquisition of James Harden and the mounting speculation that followed about a potential reunification with Harden’s former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni.
There is, however, a healthy dose of skepticism around the NBA that Snyder would have interest in a hypothetical Lakers marriage. Snyder would appear to be just as prominent a candidate to one day succeed Popovich in San Antonio, even if Popovich endures on the Spurs’ sideline for the 2022-23 season.
There will certainly be other candidates to replace Vogel. Multiple league figures contacted by B/R referenced the possibility that Lakers senior basketball adviser Kurt Rambis returns to the sidelines after several previous coaching stops in the league, including an interim stint as Los Angeles’ head coach. However, Rambis is said to be an integral figure in the front office and unlikely to resume a coaching role.
One wise caution I recently received from a former Spur: The notion that Popovich could finish out this season with his future unclear and abruptly hand the reins in the offseason to a hand-picked successor like Snyder is feasible because it would enable Pop to avoid the dreaded scenario of announcing his last season and then subjecting himself to a farewell tour.
Mark Medina: Lakers announced that they signed coach Frank Vogel to a contract extension. His original deal was going to end at the end of the 2021-22 season. So this obviously puts Vogel in good standing and shows the Lakers trust in him to manage another star-studded group.
Stadium: “I’m told Ty Lue struck a very emotional cord in his interview with Lakers leadership.” ICYMI Friday morning: NBA Insider @ShamsCharania on Ty Lue’s candidacy for Lakers coach.
The Lakers also interviewed Jason Kidd for the position on Monday, according to the same people. Pelinka and senior basketball advisor Kurt Rambis conducted the interview. Rambis returned to the organization last summer. He is married to Linda Rambis, the Lakers’ director of special projects who is Buss’ closest confidante. Kidd is not expected to have a serious shot at the Lakers’ job — a position that some in the organization felt he was campaigning for during the season.
Kidd becomes the third candidate to meet with the Lakers, following Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams and former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, who both interviewed last week. Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard is also scheduled to interview for the job, sources told ESPN, and Williams and Lue are also both expected to have follow-up sessions.
The Lakers have scheduled a second interview with Tyronn Lue on Wednesday in Los Angeles for their head-coaching vacancy, according to people not authorized to speak publicly on the search. This time, Lue will meet with Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss for the first time and again with general manager Rob Pelinka, according to the same people. Lue and Pelinka had a sit-down Friday in Newport Beach.
The Lakers also are scheduled to meet with Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard on Tuesday, according to the same people. Also, the Lakers are making plans to meet for a second time with Philadelphia assistant coach Monty Williams later this week.
Empowered by Buss to run the coaching search, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka met with Tyronn Lue and Monty Williams this week, with plans to interview both again next week. While those second interviews have not been officially scheduled yet, they are expected to include Buss.
During an appearance on SportsCenter, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski outlined Lue’s desire to push back against the idea he would be hired solely because of James’ presence: “[Lue’s relationship with James] is certainly important, but I think one of the messages Ty Lue wants to get through to Rob Pelinka is, ‘I’m not here to be LeBron James’ coach. I’m here to coach the Lakers. I’m going to coach the whole group.’ I think one of the misnomers of Ty Lue’s time in Cleveland was, listen, he challenged LeBron James. He was hard on LeBron James at times. He’s not there to just be his caddy, and I do think that commanded LeBron’s respect. And I think that will be a big part of the conversation [Lue and Pelinka] have.”
Brad Turner: 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams will have a second interview with the Lakers next week and this time Lakers owner Jeanie Buss will be there with GM Rob Pelinka, per sources.
Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Ty Lue is meeting with Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Friday to discuss the franchise's coaching job, league sources told ESPN. The meeting is set for Southern California, sources said, and represents the GM's second significant sit-down of the Lakers' process to replace Luke Walton as coach.
There is an expectation on both sides that Pelinka will have a second visit with the franchise's other leading candidate -- Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams, league sources said. Pelinka met with Williams on Tuesday in Philadelphia, and the conversation is expected to continue in the near future.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Lakers GM Rob Pelinka is meeting with coaching candidate Ty Lue today, league sources tell ESPN.
Brad Turner: Sources: Lakers GM Rob Pelinka is meeting Philadelphia assistant coach Monty Williams today to discuss LA’s head coaching job that is open after Luke Walton was let go last week.
Tania Ganguli: Can confirm that the Lakers received permission to interview Miami assistant Juwan Howard. Source says Rob Pelinka plans to meet with Howard, Tyronn Lue and Monty Williams in the coming days, but travel plans are still being figured out.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been granted permission to discuss the franchise's head-coach opening with Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams, league sources told ESPN. Williams and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue are the focus of the Lakers' search, and general manager Rob Pelinka is planning to speak individually with each soon, league sources said.
Dave McMenamin: Sixers GM Elton Brand says the Lakers or any other team hasn’t reached out about Monty Williams yet but, “I’m sure they will.” Brand says they will “honor” the request to speak to Williams should it come, citing the other PHI assistants (Pierce, Lange) that recently got HC gigs
There isn't a more disciplined organization in the NBA, and Spoelstra is a process junkie. Those in Miami say Howard's gravitas as a coach, already present on Day 1, has only grown over time. He has developed a passion for the craft and has honed his tactical knowledge. Is Howard the basketball brainiac LeBron demands? It's hard to say, but the sense from those who know is that, provided he takes the task of staffing his bench seriously, he'd be afforded the benefit of the doubt.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Monty Williams candidacy is a serious one with the Lakers, league sources tell ESPN. He has history with LeBron James as a Team USA assistant and a successful run w/ Pelicans as a head coach. Ty Lue checks the boxes too: ex-Laker, championship coach, LeBron James-approved.
Brad Turner: Two names for Lakers job to keep eye on are Ty Lue and Monty Williams, assistant with 76ers. Don’t expect to see Jason Kidd on that list
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sixers assistant Monty Williams joins Ty Lue as the central candidates in the Lakers search, league sources tell ESPN. Process is expected to center on them.
"We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the last three years," said Pelinka. "We wish Luke and his family the best of luck moving forward." "I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers," said Walton. "This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Luke Walton has two years left on his contract, but only next season is guaranteed, per source. Lakers hold option on 2020-21 season. Johnson planned to fire him, but stumbled into his own resignation on the way. Somehow, Walton survived Magic Johnson. He didn't see that coming.
Dave McMenamin: Magic Johnson says the decision was not over Luke Walton’s job status. He says making this announcement, which, Jeanie Buss isn’t aware of yet, is a “monkey off my back.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Lakers coaching staff fully expected to be fired in hours after the final game of the season. They had believed they were gone for months. Now? Magic quits in public, saying he's too scared to tell Jeanie Buss face-to-face. What an embarrassing episode for a historic franchise.
Tania Ganguli: Magic Johnson steps down as Lakers president. He hasn’t said it outright but is hinting strongly that he planned to fire Luke Walton and that won’t happen now. He is getting emotional and hasn’t told Jeanie yet he says.
Dave McMenamin: Luke Walton asked before Game 82 if he has any anxiety about his future with the Lakers: “No. No anxiety. ... But call me later tonight and maybe that answer will be different”
Bill Oram: Bill Walton is at the game tonight in a Lakers polo. He and wife Lori are here as “very proud parents,” he said. The uncomfortable subtext is that it is widely thought this could be Luke’s last game at the helm for the Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss intends to let her front office of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka make the decision on whether to retain embattled coach Luke Walton after the season concludes, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.
Marc Stein: Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard would indeed be a candidate for the Lakers' head coaching job, I'm told, if it opens as so many around the league have expected for weeks. Yet I'm also told he should not be billed as the frontrunner ... as some bookmakers have this week
The Clippers’ Doc Rivers isn’t the only championship (and currently employed) coach said to interest the Los Angeles Lakers. I’m told that the Lakers, who are widely expected to dismiss the beleaguered Luke Walton at season’s end, are also big fans of Dallas’ Rick Carlisle.
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August 19, 2022 | 3:27 am EDT Update
“[LeBron James] recognizes that it could lead up all the way to the trade deadline before that type of deal could occur.” – Dave McMenamin on the Lakers improving their roster via potential Kyrie Irving, Buddy Hield/Myles Turner, or Utah trades.

Donovan Mitchell’s trade links to the New York Knicks are in full swing again after previous reports indicated that the Knicks have re-engaged negotiations with the Utah Jazz. The 25-year-old has added more fire to the flame after he was spotted in Rucker Park, one of the most iconic basketball spots in New York City, on Wednesday. Mitchell posted a photo of himself hanging out with some kids at the park. The Jazz star was clearly having quite the time (h/t ClutchPoints on Twitter):

Mike James: I don't have a problem with Stephen Curry

In the recent URBONUS podcast episode, James said that he has no bad feelings about Steph, and many took his words out of context. “I think I said a lot of controversial things in general because I think outside the box. But for some reason, every time I mention Steph Curry, everybody gets mad, and everybody assumes I don’t like him,” James smiled. “But I think he’s amazing. To be honest, he changed basketball. Like seven years ago, everybody started shooting threes and playing small ball. Not only because of him. Like 75% of him, and then like the other 25% the Warriors. I don’t have a problem with him,” James told on the BasketNews show.
During his show on 620 Rip City Radio in Portland, host Chad Doing mentioned that he had heard that the announcers would not go on the road with the Blazers. His co-host, Dwight Jaynes, then confirmed the report. “I have confirmed from several sources that that is the plan for the Trail Blazers,” Jaynes said. “That they will not be sending radio or television on the road with their team. Also, what I’ve heard and I’ve tried to check this out, I have not found any other team in the league that’s doing this. I believe they may be the only team in the league doing it — when they’re on the road. And I just think that’s really unfortunate and difficult.”