The Los Angeles Lakers have a long list of objectives they will attempt to complete this offseason.
The first thing on that checklist is to decided whether or not they want to retain Byron Scott as their head coach. General manager Mitch Kupchak stated that the team would take a few days or possibly a week or so to let the emotions of the regular season die down before they start to discuss whether they want to give Scott another year or not.
After watching Kobe Bryant drop 60 points on the Utah Jazz in the season finale, I think we all need a little time to let that settle in.
But now five days have come and gone since that night, which means that a decision could be coming soon. If the team elects to keep Scott, there will be plenty of fan backlash to deal with. On the other hand, if they choose to move in a new direction, they have a handful of promising candidates available to pursue.
Arguably the best of those candidates currently seeking a head coaching job is former Chicago Bulls head coach, Tom Thibodeau. According to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix, though, it appears that a head coaching job isn’t all that Thibodeau wants, and only one team can offer it.
Tom Thibodeau is pursuing the Minnesota Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations and coaching job because of his determination to have full control of an organization, league sources told The Vertical.
Thibodeau wants to have final say on player personnel, organizational philosophy and hirings, league sources said, and that’s only available with the Minnesota opening now.
This would obviously make Minnesota the clear-cut front runner to land Thibodeau, assuming they would be interested. They have a tremendous young core centered around Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, with another high draft pick coming this summer.
With Thibodeau seeking that much power, it would seem that the Lakers, even if they relieve Scott of his coaching duties, would not be an option. That still may not be the case.
If he doesn’t end up with Minnesota, Thibodeau will still consider coaching jobs without full control, but his preference is clearly to have it, league sources said.
So basically, the ball is in Minnesota’s court. It sounds like if they want him, that is where he will end up. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, it appears that they do.
Footnote on the Wolves' coaching situation: Sources say Minnesota is the party pitching the coach/team president scenario, NOT Tom Thibodeau
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 18, 2016
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, right? Most signs are pointing to Thibodeau ending up with the young, promising Timberwolves. If it happens, it would add to the list of good potential coaching candidates that the Lakers have missed on the past few years.
In the off chance that he does not head to Minnesota, however, then he could still be at the top of the list for the Lakers, and they would be foolish not to pursue him if the job is open. Of course, he would have to be willing to be just the head coach, because there is probably no scenario that involves Kupchak giving up personnel power this year. With that being said, a long list of teams would be interested in his services, so landing him would still be a difficult task.
In five seasons with the Bulls, Thibodeau compiled a record of 255-139 (.647), and continued to build on what was already a stellar reputation as a defensive coach. Chicago never missed the playoffs with him at the helm, but ended up on the outside looking in this year, the first since his departure.
The primary complaint in regards to Thibodeau’s coaching style is the heavy minutes that he plays certain players. That can obviously become an issue over time, but after a year in which fans were constantly irritated at the lack of minutes for the Lakers’ young talent, they could probably live with it.
The coaching turnover every offseason is always interesting, but the carousel this year will be running rampant.
Only time will tell if the Lakers are part of it. If it was up to the fans, they would be, with Thibodeau and Luke Walton at the top of their list. There are a number of intriguing candidates out there. Whether the Lakers are interested or not still remains to be seen.