Mitch Kupchak, the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, is clearly implementing a different approach this time around, as he searches for the 26th head coach in the history of the sixteen-time champions.
Mere hours after letting Byron Scott know that he would not return as head coach next season, Kupchak and part-owner/vice president of basketball operations, Jim Buss, have begun compiling a list of potential coaching candidates.
Buzz is beginning to build around the league that Luke Walton is the leading candidate for the job, but the Lakers are considering a number of options. Writing a list is one thing, but now it appears that they are taking some action with another candidate.
USA Today Sports’ Sam Amick reports that the team has reached out to San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Lakers have received permission from the San Antonio Spurs to interview their lead assistant coach, Ettore Messina, as a possible replacement for the recently departed Byron Scott.
Messina is highly regarded around the league as one of the top assistant coaches in the NBA, as he built a strong reputation for himself with his success coaching overseas before coming over to the United States.
He has spent the last few years as a part of Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio, but Messina was a member of Mike Brown’s staff with the Lakers as well in 2011-12.
Kupchak has stated that he does not want this process to drag out, but admitted that he will still take a couple of weeks to complete a search for the team’s next leader. No matter how long it takes, the current list that is compiled should have Lakers fans excited. There are plenty of great candidates out there, and the front office appears to be aiming for interviews with the vast majority of them.