The Los Angeles Lakers are not wasting any time.
Ever since they made the decision to part ways with Byron Scott as their head coach, Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss have been extremely active. After recently receiving permission to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina, the Lakers were also granted permission to discuss the job with Golden State Warriors assistant and former Laker, Luke Walton.
Those two candidates appear to be at the top of their list, but Kupchak and Buss are not done there.
ESPN’s Marc Stein is reporting that the Lakers are planning to also conduct an interview with former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt.
The Lakers, sources say, also plan to interview former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt and have strong interest in UConn coach Kevin Ollie, who grew up a Laker fan in Southern California and has strong relationships from his playing days with stars known to interest L.A. in free agency this summer and beyond, such as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
The Ollie news and his connection to the Thunder’s star duo is well-documented at this point, but this is the first actual report of Los Angeles intending to interview Blatt.
Blatt, like Messina, had a tremendous amount of success overseas as a coach, and in his first year with the Cavaliers, Cleveland lost in 6 games in the NBA Finals to the Warriors. Of course, Blatt took the Cavs job expecting to continue their current rebuild, but then the team acquired LeBron James in free agency and traded for Kevin Love.
When Blatt was fired this season, the Cavaliers were 30-11 and leading the Eastern Conference standings. Many wondered about his ability to control the locker room, but as we have seen in years past, coaching a team with James on it can be a bit difficult at times in that regard.
With a young team, it would be interesting to see what Blatt could do both on the court and in the locker room. At this point, however, it appears that it would be a long shot for him to land the Lakers job, seeing as Walton and Messina seemingly have a stranglehold on the top two spots on the team’s list, respectively.
Even with a noticeable distance between the top two candidates and the rest of the field, the Lakers are doing their due diligence and leaving no stone unturned. After what happened the last time they conducted a coaching search, this is a refreshing approach.