Rob Pelinka, vice president of basketball operations and general manager for the Lakers, said the team did not list or name a replacement in a search for coaches to replace sacked Frank Vogel. .
That hasn’t stopped rumors from starting about who the Lakers will be interested in after their official split with Vogel on Monday.
The most intriguing coaching names they will likely consider are Quin Snyder of Utah, Nick Nurse of Toronto, Doc Rivers of Philadelphia and Juwan Howard of Michigan, but all of these coaches are under contract.
Former Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford, former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts and Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach Darvin Ham are names that have been mentioned among league insiders.
The Lakers, Pelinka said in an interview with reporters Monday afternoon, won’t be in a rush to make a decision on the next coach.
“I think it’s going to be a very methodical process, and I think the principles here are not to pick an end date and say, ‘Hey, we have to have someone on that date. I think we want to find the right person,” Pelinka said. “I think that’s the most important thing. I think all things considered, it would be great to have someone in place by [NBA] draft” on June 23.
“But our process will be thorough and methodical, and we haven’t even begun to draw up a list or discuss the replacement. We wanted to commit to finishing the season strong last night, which we were able to do. And not skipping steps, and sort of turning to those decisions once the season is over from today.
Snyder, who is known for having great offensive sets and a strong defensive base, led the Jazz to the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. He was an assistant for the Lakers while on coach Mike Brown’s team in 2011-12. Not only is Snyder under contract with the Jazz for at least one more season, people not authorized to speak publicly about it say he has become less interested in working for the Lakers because of the way Vogel’s dismissal had been handled.
Nurse, who led the Raptors to the NBA championship in 2019, also has a few years left on his contract and no one in the league thinks Toronto will let him go. Nurse signed a multi-year contract extension in 2020 with two years remaining on his current deal.
As one person with knowledge of the situation put it, “there was nothing backed up by any discussion from any party.”
Nurse is represented by Klutch Sports, which also represents Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, both of whom have told friends they like the way Nurse coaches.
Although Rivers still has three years left on his deal with the 76ers, a person familiar with his situation said he shouldn’t be passed over as a candidate. Rivers won an NBA championship with the Celtics in 2008 and lost a Finals rematch with the Lakers in 2010.
Many in the league think Rivers has the clout and respect of star coaches like James, Davis and Russell Westbrook.
According to people familiar with Howard’s situation, he wants to continue coaching his two sons, Jett and Jace, who both play at Michigan. Howard was interviewed for the Lakers job that eventually went to Vogel in 2019. Howard was an assistant coach for six seasons with Miami and won two championships as a player with James and the Heat.
“In terms of what this team needs right now, we think with obviously superstars in our squad, we want a strong voice that can inspire the 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 to hold everyone, from the best player on our team down to the 15th man, to some degree of accountability. And that’s going to be one of the many characteristics that, I think, are obvious today.