The Lakers plan to interview numerous candidates to fill their coaching vacancy, including several former pro coaches.
George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy, Kurt Rambis and Byron Scott are just four of the names on an ever-growing list the Lakers have compiled since Mike D’Antoni resigned Wednesday.
The Lakers will also talk to a handful of college coaches, including Kentucky’s John Calipari and Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie, though hiring a college coach would be new ground for the team.
Regarding Calipari, one person familiar with his thinking said he wouldn’t leave the Wildcats because “he’s a god in Kentucky.”
The Lakers almost surely won’t have a coach in place before the May 20 draft lottery but will have someone before the June 26 draft.
How they do in the lottery and whether they keep the pick will affect their coaching choice to a degree.
If they move up to the first, second or third spots and do not trade the pick, it would tilt them toward a younger coach. If they pick sixth (where they now sit) or lower they would likely lean toward a more veteran coach because the team would not be as dependent immediately on a young player.
Karl is an interesting option. He became familiar with the franchise when his son, Coby, played for the Lakers in the 2007-08 season and was one of the few coaches respected by Phil Jackson.
Van Gundy’s name has continually popped up in Lakers coaching searches over the years, but the sides have never come close to a deal.
Rambis and Scott would be easy hires for a franchise obviously familiar with their names.
Rambis hasn’t ventured far from the Lakers’ umbrella since retiring as a player and has filled numerous roles for the team since first joining Del Harris’ coaching staff in 1994. Rambis served as an assistant under Jackson for seven seasons and most recently coached under D’Antoni for one season.
Scott logged 13 years as an NBA head coach and was a regular this season as a commentator on the Lakers’ TV network, Time Warner Cable SportsNet.