Lakers should consider international coaching prospects Blatt, Messina

Lakers should consider international coaching prospects Blatt, Messina
Coach Ettore Messina gives his CSKA Moscow players direction during a Euroleague game against Maccabi Tel Aviv. (Jack Guez / AFP / Getty Images)

The Lakers are taking their time to hire a replacement for Mike D'Antoni, who resigned as head coach on April 30.

The list of interviewees thus far includes Byron Scott, Lionel Hollins, Alvin Gentry, Kurt Rambis and Mike Dunleavy, and it could grow to include former Laker Derek Fisher, among others.


Pau Gasol, touring Jerusalem to promote communication and coexistence, recently gave his thoughts on two international coaches.

"[David] Blatt could coach in the NBA, but it's a matter of finding the right opportunity," said Gasol to Eurobasket.  "The NBA is a different league and system. Ettore Messina is another coach who'd like to try coaching in the NBA, and he has experience as an assistant for the Lakers.

Blatt is one of the top coaches outside of the NBA.  In May, he led Maccabi Tel Aviv to the 2014 Euroleague championship in May.  He's coached in Russia, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Israel and played for Pete Carril at Princeton.

While he has yet to be linked to the Lakers, he's worthy of a look.

"No doubt in my mind I could do the job," Blatt told USA Today on the prospect of a head coaching job in the NBA.

Italian coach Messina served as an assistant under Mike Brown with the Lakers but left to coach CSKA Moscow.

In early May, Messina said the Lakers had yet to contact him.

"I am just glad I left good memories of my season there," Messina said to The Times.

Messina has NBA experience, albeit as an assistant, the respect of Kobe Bryant and a long résumé of success internationally.

If the Lakers are going to take their time to conduct a thorough search, both Blatt and Messina warrant consideration.

Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.