Rob Pelinka, Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager, said the team has not drawn up “a roster or who’s a replacement” in a search for coaching to replace fired Frank Vogel.
That didn’t stop rumors from starting about who the Lakers would be interested in after they officially parted ways with Vogel on Monday.
The most intriguing coaches names they are likely to consider are Utah’s Quinn Snyder, Toronto’s Nick Norris, Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers and Michigan’s Joan Howard, but all of these coaches are under contract.
Steve Clifford, former coach of the Orlando Magic, Terry Stotts, former Portland Trail Blazers coach, and Darvin Hamm, assistant coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, are the names mentioned among league insiders.
During an interview with reporters Monday afternoon, Pelinka said the Lakers will not be in a hurry to make a decision on their next coach.
“I think it’s going to be a very systematic process, and I think the principles here aren’t picking an end date and saying, ‘Hey, we should have someone by that date. “I think we want to find the right person,” Pelinka said. “I think that is the most important thing. I think all things considered, it would be great to have someone in his place before [NBA] Draft” on June 23.
But our process will be thorough and systematic, and we haven’t even begun to list or discuss who the alternative is. We wanted to commit to finishing the season strong last night, which we were able to do. And not skip the steps, and kind of switch to those decisions once the season is over starting today.”
Snyder, known for his good offensive combos and solid defensive foundation, led the Jazz team to the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. He was an assistant with the Lakers while on staff coach Mike Brown in 2011-2012. Snyder is not under contract with the Jazz for at least one season, and even people not authorized to speak publicly on the matter have said he has become less interested in the Lakers’ job because of the way Vogel’s firing was handled.
The nurse, who led the Raptors to the NBA championship in 2019, also has a few years left on his deal and no one around the league thinks Toronto will let him leave. The nurse signed a multi-year contract extension in 2020 with two years remaining on his current deal.
As one person familiar with the situation said, “Nothing has been proven by any discussion from either side.”
Nurse is represented by Klutch Sports, who also represents Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, both of whom have told friends they like how the nurse trains.
Although Rivers has three years left on his deal with the 76ers, a person familiar with his situation said he shouldn’t be left out as a candidate. Rivers won the NBA championship with the Celtics in 2008 and lost the final rematch with the Lakers in 2010.
Many people across the league feel that Rivers has influence and respect for coached stars such as James, Davis and Russell Westbrook.
According to people familiar with Howard’s situation, he wants to continue training his two sons, Jett and Jess, who play in Michigan. Howard interviewed for a Lakers job which eventually transferred to Vogel in 2019. Howard was an assistant coach for six seasons with Miami and won two championships as a player with James and Heat.
“In terms of what this team needs at the moment, we feel like with the superstars on our squad we want a strong voice that is able to inspire players to play at the highest level of competition every night,” Pelinka said.
“And I think that’s going to be one of the resounding qualities that we’re looking for in terms of making everyone from the best player on our team to the 15th man in some degree of accountability. And that’s going to be one of the many characteristics that I think jump out today.”