NBA Rumor: Lakers Coaching Search

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Darvin Ham has made strongest impression in Lakers' coaching search

The Lakers appear poised to make a decision on their coaching position soon, with Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts the finalists for the job that became vacant when Frank Vogel was fired at season’s end. But as the final round of interviews is set, sources tell The Athletic that Ham appears to have made the strongest impression yet.

In terms of the Lakers’ preferences, sources say team officials have prioritized a coach who can command respect and authority from the locker room and who has a strong enough presence and voice to manage the varying roles and relationships across the roster. Those characteristics bode well for Ham’s candidacy. Throughout assistant coaching stops with the Lakers, Hawks and Bucks, Ham has been known for his no-nonsense style and ability to resonate with his players — attributes that have stood out in his communication with the Lakers thus far as well, sources said.

Ham, who played in eight NBA seasons from 1996 to 2008, is the only former NBA player among the three finalists. Even before he reached the NBA, however, Ham’s reputation as a force of nature was cemented when he broke the backboard while dunking during his 1996 NCAA Tournament run with Texas Tech. Ham, Stotts and Atkinson are in consideration for the Charlotte Hornets vacancy as well. Ham is also a serious candidate for the Hornets, according to sources.

All three finalists will soon meet with top Lakers officials — including owner Jeanie Buss — in Los Angeles for the next in-person stage, sources said. So far, Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, director of basketball affairs Kurt Rambis, vice president of research and development Joey Buss and assistant general manager Jesse Buss have led the first stage of coaching interviews.

Lakers not rushing head coaching search while waiting for Doc Rivers or Quin Snyder

Former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham, Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin and Jackson are the four known candidates to have interviewed with the Lakers to date. Sources maintain that the Lakers’ search is moving deliberately at least in part because L.A. wants to see if Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers or Utah’s Quin Snyder makes it to the open market this offseason.

Mark Jackson more likely to get coaching gig in Sacramento

Mark Jackson was indeed a Klutch client in the past and, sources say, maintains a strong relationship with Klutch CEO Rich Paul, whose foremost client, of course, is the Lakers’ LeBron James. There is undeniably a level of support within the Klutch camp for Jackson’s candidacy with the Lakers, but Jackson’s chances of finally getting another NBA coaching shot after an eight-year wait are much stronger with Sacramento.

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.”

Lakers seriously interested in Quin Synder as their next head coach

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.
3 years ago via ESPN

Vogel’s emerging candidacy speaks to the significant influence of Lakers adviser Kurt Rambis and former coach Phil Jackson, whose opinions weigh heavily with owner Jeanie Buss. Vogel was the runner-up to Jeff Hornacek when Jackson hired a New York Knicks replacement for Derek Fisher in the summer of 2016. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has spent the past few days gathering information from those who have worked with both Vogel and Kidd about how they believe those two could complement each other on a Lakers coaching staff, league sources said.
3 years ago via ESPN

Lakers, Frank Vogel to talk again soon

Former Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel made a strong impression in his interview with the Los Angeles Lakers and the sides are planning to talk again soon about the team’s head coaching job, league sources told ESPN. After the Lakers top two targets, Monty Williams and Ty Lue rejected the franchise’s offers, the Lakers reset their search and Vogel is emerging as a serious candidate, sources said. Vogel flew to Los Angeles on Thursday and met with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and his front office and had detailed discussions on how he’d approach the possibility of taking over what has become a volatile situation.

According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, Kidd has been selling the Lakers on his ability to develop young talent and would be especially excited to work alongside Lonzo Ball: I don’t want to pull back the curtain too much but I’ve spent a considerable amount of time talking to Jason Kidd about the Lakers job. I can’t say that I know exactly what he said to them in his interview, but I have a general idea of what his vision for the team was and I think one of the things that Jason really believed in was developing their young players. Again, I don’t want to violate too much of a confidence here, but when we spoke about it, I really do think he was a big believer in Lonzo Ball. He thinks Lonzo Ball can really be a good player. He wants to help develop him.

LeBron James, Kyrie Irving teaming up in LA?

If he switches conferences, one of the leading options could be joining his former teammate LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers. According to Brian Windhorst, who has extensively covered both of these players, this has recently become more likely than ever (via ESPN): “As time passes here, I would’ve said that this is impossible for many months. But as time passes here and as the possibility exists that Jason Kidd could be hired as the Lakers coach, I think the possibility of Kyrie and LeBron reuniting — that door, which was deadbolted, has been un-deadbolted and has now been cracked open … It might even be opening more by the day. And I say that just because I think it’s on Kyrie’s radar, it’s on Kyrie’s board. He has had discussions with people about playing for the Lakers.”

Rajon Rondo said as much when he appeared on Wednesday’s NBA Countdown on ESPN. He stated it about as clearly as he could at the 6:30 mark of the interview: if the Lakers don’t have a head coach soon, he isn’t interested in returning to the team. “At this point in my career, a head coach is big for me,” Rondo said. “It’s all about a relationship. So if they don’t have one, it’s a no go for me.” In a vacuum, this would not be the worst thing to hear. The Lakers probably don’t plan to bring Rondo back next season anyway. Lonzo Ball is the starting point guard of the future, and Alex Caruso earned a backup job with his strong play down the stretch. The Lakers aren’t going to make a major investment in a non-shooting point guard that is aging quickly.
3 years ago via ESPN

General manager Rob Pelinka and front office advisor Kurt Rambis had interviewed Kidd for the head coaching job, and became convinced that he should be a key member of a Lue coaching staff, league sources said. They believed Kidd could be impactful with point guard Lonzo Ball, and were impressed with the Milwaukee Bucks player development during his tenure there. It isn’t believed that Lue had objections to Kidd joining his staff, but the two had not discussed the possibility directly, league sources said.

The reports of Lue wanting to add his former colleague in Boston, Tom Thibodeau, to his coaching staff are also true. LeBron, through intermediaries, has let it be known that Thibodeau would be a huge asset to have on the bench. LeBron’s close associates were gauging Thibodeau’s interest in becoming a top assistant two weeks ago. It would be similar to the role Mike Brown and Ron Adams serve under Steve Kerr in Golden State. Thibodeau, however, is owed a lot of money from the Minnesota Timberwolves and the feeling is that he would prefer a head coaching job. Thibodeau has the resume and income to be patient. Plus, after dealing with an unstable management group in Minnesota, Thibodeau may be taking a wait-and-see approach with the “new-look” Lakers.

Lakers to make an offer to Tyronn Lue?

The Lakers are poised to make an offer to Tyronn Lue to become their next head coach, and he will come with two endorsers who have 10 Lakers championships between them. Phil Jackson, who coached Lue, and Magic Johnson, who stepped down as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations last month, told Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss that they supported the hiring of Lue, according to a person familiar with their discussions.
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June 27, 2022 | 11:03 am EDT Update

Malik Monk open to accepting less money to stay with Lakers

Malik Monk said he’d consider accepting less money than his market price to stay with the Lakers for the taxpayer midlevel exception. “They might not be able to pay me as much as I want,” he said. “But I could be here and be way more comfortable as a Laker than going to any other team (that would pay) me $5 million more. So it’s just me trying to figure out what team would really want me.”
As Monk weighs the most significant factors of his free agency, money is obviously important, but it’s not the most important one. Role and minutes are more notable considerations. “Money is always a part, man, but I don’t think it’s the biggest priority in my free agency this year,” Monk said. “It’s me feeling like I’m having a home and I can go out there and do the same things I did this year.”
The start date for WNBA star Brittney Griner’s trial in Moscow has been set for July 1, more than four months after she was arrested at a Moscow airport for cannabis possession. The date was revealed Monday after Griner, 31, appeared in a Moscow court for a preliminary hearing ahead of trial. The Phoenix Mercury center was also ordered to remain in custody for the duration of her criminal trial.