Lakers Next Coach: Who Are the Choices?

  on May 13 2011 9:17 PM

With legendary head coach Phil Jackson fading off into the sunset, the Los Angeles Lakers have already made an effort to reach out to possible replacements.

Assistant coach Brian Shaw is the favorite to win the job, but he is by no means a lock.

Here are the potential coaches Lakers' management will and could consider.

Shaw. He knows the Lakers system, and players have already endorsed him. However, the Lakers may clean house and have a completely different roster. If there is an overhaul of the roster, Shaw may not be the right choice. At age 45, he's a little young for the position, but that may not work against him. What Shaw lacks is head coaching experience.

Chuck Person. Currently a Lakers assistant, Person will get an interview, but he seems like a longshot for a variety of reasons. Person has no real tie to the organization, as he never played for Los Angeles. Also, he has limited experience as a Lakers' assistant, let alone head coaching experience.

Rick Adelman. The Los Angeles-native and former head coach of the once-hated Sacramento Kings, Adelman might bring his corners offense to the Lakers. Should Adelman get the job, the Lakers may have to throw out their entire playbook, which might be a major mistake given the players on the current roster who are well acquainted with the triangle.

Derek Fisher. The longest of longshots. Fisher is still on the roster, but is among the most respected players in the NBA, and knows Jackson's system as well as just about anybody. Fisher would have to retire, and he has given no indication that he plans on doing that.

Jeff Van Gundy. Currently a broadcaster on ESPN, Van Gundy might be high on the Lakers' list. He is certainly available and has a proven track record having coached the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets to some success. What may hold Van Gundy back is the fact that he's never won a championship, and his demeanor and attitude might not mesh well with some of the personalities on the team.

Byron Scott. Had he not accepted the Cavaliers job last summer, he would be the favorite for the job. In his first season, Scott has seen the Cavaliers struggle in the absence of LeBron James. Would he quit on the Cavs after one season? Probably not.

Mike Dunleavy. Certainly a contender as he's unemployed and living in Los Angeles. It also helps that he's still well liked after leaving the Lakers to coach the Milwaukee Bucks back in the early 90's. Dunleavy took the Lakers to the Finals in his first year, and it was considered quite an accomplishment. His coaching record since has been very strong.

Larry Brown. This coaching legend is unemployed and is well acquainted with Los Angeles having coached the UCLA Bruins, and he owns a home in Malibu. At 70 years old, does Brown want to keep coaching? Brown often has more interest in teams that are playoff hopefuls, not championship contenders, like the Lakers.

Kurt Rambis. The former Lakers forward has not had good results in Minnesota after leaving Los Angeles and spending several years as Jackson's assistant. He had a brief spell as the Lakers' head coach when Dell Harris was fired in 1999, and received mixed reviews for trying to hold together a chaotic team.

Pat Riley. Another longshot, Riley is currently team president of the Miami Heat, and hasn't had ties to the Lakers since 1990. But Lakers have fond memories of Riley, and he has the temperment to handle this current team. More than likely, Riley will stay in Miami, as he's had hip problems, and has shown no signs of wanting to go back to coaching.

Quin Snyder. A current assistant coach on the Philadelphia 76ers, Snyder is one of the most educated figures in basketball, or even sports for that matter, as he has a law degree and MBA from Duke University. Snyder has had success as a head coach at Missouri, and as an assistant he has learned from some of the best head coaches in basketball: Brown, Mike Krzyzewski, and Greg Popovich. Kobe Bryant wanted Coach K to coach after Jackson left the first time, so perhaps Kobe can get his protege.

Mike Budenholzer. An assistant for the Spurs, Budenholzer also has learned under Popovich. He's considered to be among the most coveted assistants in the NBA. Tom Thibodeau has done wonders for Chicago, so the Lakers might consider what Budenholzer can go do when given the chance.

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