Although it appears that the Los Angeles Lakers are not as far along as the Sacramento Kings or Charlotte Hornets are in terms of their head coaching search, that doesn’t mean that the franchise hasn’t been connected to many names in many reports. One of the initial head coaches to be rumored for the Lakers’ job was a surprising one in the form of current Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who is, coincidentally, a client of Klutch Sports.
The Raptors were recently eliminated from the playoffs in Game 6 of their first round series against the Philadelphia 76ers (who also employ a coach in Doc Rivers who has also been linked to the Lakers’ job). With that, Nurse, president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, and the rest of the team conducted their exit interviews with the media. Of course, Nurse and Ujiri were asked about the aspect of the reports and rumors surrounding Nurse, with the two throwing water on the fiery gossip (reported by TSN Sports’ Josh Lewenberg).
Nick Nurse on reports of the Lakers' interest in him: "I don't know where that stuff comes from and I'm focused on coaching this team."
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 2, 2022
Masai Ujiri on reports of the Lakers' interest in Nick Nurse: "No team has contacted me. And I see all the stuff that you guys see. I dream like they dream. I want Messi. I want Renaldo. I want Kobe Bryant. So they can keep dreaming. I dream too."
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 3, 2022
Nurse’s reaction to the news is to be expected, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania has indicated recently that Nurse has two years left on a multiyear contract extension he signed with the Raptors franchise in 2020. Given that contract, the Lakers would first need the Raptors’ permission while also executing a trade of sorts to even get Nurse on the team in the first place.
That permission would need to come from Masai Ujiri first and foremost, and given his exaggerated quote above, it doesn’t seem like that permission would come unless Nurse was begging to leave for Los Angeles. Even then, given said exaggeration, it doesn’t even seem like Ujiri would budge. This would align with a recent report from Marc Stein where he indicated there’s “zero indication” that Nurse wants to leave Toronto with Stein overall seeming very pessimistic about this sort of transaction occurring between the Lakers and Raptors.
Even if the odds of this happening seem unlikely in the moment, I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear of the Nurse-L.A. connection.