A running list of people connected to the Lakers head coach vacancy

CLEVELAND, OHIO – MARCH 06: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors reacts during the second quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on March 06, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers officially fired Frank Vogel only about 8-12 hours following the team’s final game of the 2021-22 season. Worst than that, they unofficially fired him mere minutes following that final game as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported at that time that Vogel would be learning of his firing the next day. The firing gives Rob Pelinka, Kurt Rambis, Jeanie Buss, and the Lakers’ top decision-makers quite a lofty task in an offseason that has no shortage of those types of duties with a possible LeBron James contract extension and Russell Westbrook trade also left to do.

It’s still only been a little over 24 hours since the firing was made official, but even with that there’s been plenty of names connected to the Lakers’ head coach position through a variety of reports. We will try and keep all of those names listed and constantly updated below as the Lakers go through the summer trying to find their team’s new leader.

Kenny Atkinson

UPDATE 05/12/22: On Wednesday night, May 11th, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Lakers had not only requested permission to interview Warriors’ assistant Kenny Atkinson, but they had already been granted it. Atkinson will join Darvin Ham, Mark Jackson, Adrian Griffin, and Terry Stotts as candidates that have been interviewed.

Quin Snyder and Doc Rivers

UPDATE (05/09/22): It’s been widely reported that the Lakers will be taking their head coaching interviews at a slow, deliberate, and patient pace. It turns out there may be an ulterior motive to that stance as Marc Stein recently reported the following regarding the pace and the Lakers’ interest in Snyder and Rivers (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll):

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.

UPDATE (04/29/22): Marc Stein reports that the Lakers’ interest in Quin Snyder is “serious” but that there’s “ongoing skepticism in coaching circles” that Snyder would want to leave Utah.

UPDATE (4/21/22): Before the 76ers’ playoff series against the Raptors tipped-off, Rivers was, unsurprisingly, asked about the rumors of him being a “candidate” for the Lakers job. He denied this (also unsurprising given the fact that he was about to start a playoff series with his current team), while also criticizing the Lakers for the way they handled Frank Vogel’s firing (the following was initially reported by Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer, h/t to Silver Screen & Roll):

“It just makes our job so much harder,” he said. “I think it’s so unfair. I thought the Frank Vogel thing was so unfair. We work just like you guys work. How would you like your jobs to be mentioned every day? I mean, even if it’s someone wanting to have you, it’s just not right. I hate it. There’s nothing I can do about it.”


So you’re not a candidate for that job, Doc?


“No, I’m not a candidate,” he said. “I have a job, and I am very happy in my job.”

Before that deflection from Rivers, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported the following about Rivers’ secret desire to play for the Lakers, in his “Please Don’t Aggregate This” podcast (another h/t to Silver Screen & Roll):

“There seems to be a lot of momentum toward him exiting stage left in Philly. Doc spent a lot of time in LA as the Clippers coach. Talk around the league is that that’s the job that he wants and I wonder if the Doc-Lakers smoke is more driven by that being a situation that Doc wants than the Lakers want.”

The fact of the matter is that Rivers probably wouldn’t find a better landing spot after being fired twice in three years than being head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s saying all the right things currently that seem to show he doesn’t want the job, but Fischer’s report and the common sense around a firing following an early exit for the 76ers would tell you that Rivers would definitely want the gig.

Original story: You can read our initial report regarding Snyder and Rivers being connected to the job here. Also of note is the fact that it was reported recently that Snyder has lost interest in the job due to the Lakers’ mishandling of Frank Vogel’s firing. Awesome, right?!

Lakers’ hiring team

UPDATE (05/09/22): ESPN’s Dave McMenamin gave information on what the Lakers’ interview process looks like for their open head coach position. The initial interviews are being conducted via Zoom with the following names from the Lakers’ brass being involved.

Not included is Phil Jackson, who reportedly has been advising Jeanie Buss on the coaching search.

Terry Stotts

UPDATE (05/09/22): It’s been reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Lakers have interviewed former Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts for their vacant position. Stotts now joins Mark Jackson, Adrian Griffin, and Darvin Ham as candidates that have reportedly been formally interviewed for the position.

Mark Jackson

UPDATE (05/09/22): It’s been reported that Jackson has officially been interviewed by the Lakers’ brass.

UPDATE (05/03/22): Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer indicates that Mark Jackson (along with Steve Clifford and Mike Brown) has entered the final stages of the interview process with the Sacramento Kings. Fischer also reports that Jackson is the “front-runner” for the job and is the favorite of Kings chairman Vivek Ranadive.

Fischer also confirms preview reports below that LeBron is “known to have interest” in Mark Jackson for the Lakers’ opening. Fischer also follows up his initial report with an interesting tidbit of the fact that the Lakers (along with the Hornets and Kings) seem focused on candidates with previous head coaching experience.

Original story: The most recent name to be connected to the Lakers’ head coaching job is that of current ESPN TV analyst, Mark Jackson. The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported the following on Tuesday, April 12th as it seems that one dude on the team named LeBron James would be strongly in favor of the Lakers hiring Jackson.

And here’s a tidbit to monitor as the Lakers conduct their latest coaching search: Sources say James would be very enthused by the prospect of Mark Jackson landing the job.

Jackson last coached in the NBA from 2011-2014 as the leader of the Golden State Warriors in the early days of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson’s career. He was let go following the 2013-14 season where the team went 51-31, as the franchise had a messy break-up with him and thought that they’d be better suited with another coach. They were right.

I’m obviously against the Lakers hiring him due to on-court matters, but there’s even more off-court matters that are much more serious that make me hate the idea of them hiring him. You can see those reasons in the Twitter thread below.

Adrian Griffin

UPDATE (05/09/22): Although it was already reported that the Lakers had requested permission from the Raptors to hire Adrian Griffin, it’s now been reported by the L.A. Times’ Dan Woike that the Lakers have officially interviewed Griffin.

UPDATE (05/04/22): The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Lakers have requested permission to interview Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin for their head coach vacancy. You can read more about that report here.

Darvin Ham

UPDATE (05/09/22): Although it was already reported that the Lakers had requested permission from the Bucks to interview Darvin Ham, it’s now been reported by the L.A. Times’ Dan Woike that the Lakers have officially interviewed Ham.

UPDATE (05/03/22): We’ve already covered the report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania that Bucks’ assistant Darvin Ham would be the first candidate that the Lakers would try to interview. The L.A. Times’ Dan Woike then reported that the Lakers had indeed received permission to interview Ham.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has also reported that the Lakers will not be the only team interviewing Ham, as he reports that the Charlotte Hornets will be interviewing Ham soon. However, Wojnarowski later indicates that former Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has been “identified as a serious candidate early in the process” for Charlotte.

In regards to Ham’s likeliness for the Lakers’ job, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer indicates the Lakers are focused on candidates with previous head coaching experience. Ham has never been a head coach in the NBA.

Terry Stotts, Steve Clifford, Scott Brooks, Darvin Ham, Mike Brown, Alex Jensen

UPDATE (05/03/22): Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer indicates that Mike Brown and Steve Clifford have entered the final stages of interviews with the Sacramento Kings.

Original story: The above names have been reported by the L.A. Times’ Brad Turner. Clifford, Stotts, and Ham (current assistant with the Bucks) were all linked as names mentioned “among league insiders” in this article. Stotts was mentioned yet again in this other article by Turner, with Scott Brooks, Mike Brown (current Warriors assistant and former Lakers head coach), and Alex Jensen (current Jazz assistant) also linked. Juwan Howard was also included in the names, however, Turner noted that his sources told him that Howard’s intention is to continue coaching at the University of Michigan.

The connection to Brown is obviously in his history with the Lakers, while Brooks also has somewhat of a connection as the Lakers reportedly lost a bidding war to make him an assistant under Vogel for the 2021-22 season. He ended up taking more money in the same role under Chauncey Billups in Portland. Brooks may have been desired by the team as a coach who has had high success with Russell Westbrook in the past. It’d be interesting to see if they’d still be interested in him given the fact that all signs seem to point to Westbrook being on a different team next season.


Juwan Howard

Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that Michigan head coach Juwan Howard’s name was emerging as a potential candidate. Howard is a former college teammate of Rob Pelinka’s and also played with LeBron James on the Miami Heat while nearing the end of his career.

Nick Nurse

UPDATE (04/21/22): In a Spotify Green Room session, respected reporter Marc Stein indicated the following regarding the aspect of Nick Nurse leaving Toronto to become the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers (h/t Silver Screen & Roll for transcribing):

“But practically, there’s zero indication that Nick wants to leave Toronto. Secondly, even if he did, he’s very early in a new contract. I think he has three years after this one, maybe two, but at least two after this one… And the Lakers are not exactly flush with draft compensation to get Nick Nurse out of it. So it’s the kind of thing where people around the league have been buzzing about it, I heard it last week, I didn’t report it because of all the practical obstacles that are in the way of it. I just don’t see how the Lakers could get Nick Nurse from the Raptors even if he was angling to get out, and I want to make it clear: I have not heard anything to that effect.”

Original story: On Monday, April 11th, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Raptors’ head coach Nick Nurse would be “among the franchise’s top targets for the position”. Of note, Nurse is a Klutch Sports Agency client. Charania also reports the following context regarding the Lakers’ chances at getting Nurse in the building, with another connection to Juwan Howard being listed:

Nurse, who led the Raptors to a championship in 2019, signed a multiyear contract extension in 2020 and has two years left on his deal. It’s unclear whether he will be attainable or whether he would have interest, but the Lakers are hoping the former Coach of the Year is an option with the allure of coaching James and Davis and the appeal of the Los Angeles market. To acquire Nurse, the Lakers would need to receive permission from the Raptors and likely engage them on a prospective trade. Over the next several weeks, expect several other candidates to emerge, including University of Michigan coach Juwan Howard, who interviewed for the opening in 2019.

We will continue to update this story as more reports come out.

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