A day after Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski declined an offer to coach the Los Angeles Lakers, the team turned to former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich.
KRIV, the Fox television affiliate in Houston, reported yesterday that the Lakers offered the job to Tomjanovich on Monday evening, hours after Krzyzewski announced he had decided to stay at Duke.
The Lakers and coach Phil Jackson, who won three NBA championships in five seasons with Los Angeles, parted ways three days after the club was defeated by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals.
The Lakers declined to comment, and calls to Tomjanovich's agent were not returned.
Tomjanovich led the Rockets to the 1994 and '95 NBA championships and compiled a 503-397 record over 12 seasons with the club before resigning after he had bladder cancer diagnosed a little more than a year ago. He received treatment and returned to the Rockets as a scout last season.
Meantime, the free agency period has opened, and the Denver Nuggets are among the most aggressive teams in the league.
The Nuggets hosted San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili and New Jersey Nets forward Kenyon Martin in recent days. Nuggets GM Kiki Vandeweghe also has met with Kobe Bryant in Southern California as part of the team's effort to sign the Lakers guard, according to reports.
Denver, which made it to the playoffs this past season for the first time in nine years, is more than $20 million under the salary cap, so the club has plenty of room to sign marquee players.
The 6-foot-6 Ginobili, who averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds last season, cancelled a meeting with the Phoenix Suns after visiting Denver last week. Spurs executives have said the team plans to do whatever it can to keep him.
-- Greg Sandoval