A new era of Los Angeles Lakers basketball will begin when the 2016-17 NBA regular season tips off at the end of October.
With Kobe Bryant saying farewell to the game and the Lakers saying farewell to Byron Scott as their head coach, the team will now need a new leader on the court and on the sideline.
They have some time to compile a list of potential replacements, but according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it sounds like Los Angeles already has their eye on a few candidates.
Possible candidates to replace Scott could include Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton, former Houston Rockets and New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie and San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, league sources said.
The last time the Lakers conducted a coaching search, they aimed almost solely at candidates that had prior NBA head coaching experience. Based on Wojnarowski’s suggested list, only Van Gundy would fall under that category, although Walton and Messina have filled in temporarily during brief absences by Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich, respectively.
The fact that the front office is looking at some of the top assistants is a nice change of pace. They should be thinking long-term with their next hire, seeing as they are currently rebuilding the roster around a promising young core. They also seem to be thinking a bit outside the box as well with Ollie. The current Connecticut men’s basketball coach has strong ties with soon-to-be free agent, Kevin Durant. Perhaps that connection can help enhance the Lakers’ seemingly unlikely odds of landing the Thunder superstar this summer.
Either way, the initial list is encouraging. It appears the Lakers might be changing their thinking when it comes to who they want to help develop the likes of Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson.
The Lakers have a long list of objectives they need to try and complete this offseason, but it appears that they are off to a great start.