The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to name Rudy Tomjanovich as their new coach today, part of an effort to retool a club that has won three of the last five NBA titles. A team spokesman said Tomjanovich will be introduced as head coach during an afternoon news conference.
Tomjanovich will earn $30 million over five years, according to news reports.
Tomjanovich, 55, replaces Phil Jackson, who stepped down as the Lakers' coach three days after the team lost to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals.
Tomjanovich, who coached the Houston Rockets to NBA titles in 1994 and '95, inherits a squad that next season could be without cornerstone players Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.
O'Neal has demanded that he be traded and Bryant is a free agent who is considering offers from other teams.
Derek Fisher and Karl Malone also are unrestricted free agents.
Tomjanovich is used to adversity. After having bladder cancer diagnosed less than two years ago, he quit coaching the Rockets in May 2003 and accepted a less demanding job as a scout so he could concentrate on battling his disease.
Tomjanovich was named as the early favorite to succeed Jackson, but he has had to watch the team pursue others over the past week, including Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Miami Heat President Pat Riley.
The Lakers offered the job to Krzyzewski but he turned it down Monday.
Tomjanovich amassed a 503-397 record in 12 seasons as the Rockets' coach.
The move to Los Angeles would mark the end of Tomjanovich's 34-year association with the Rockets' organization as both coach and player.
-- Greg Sandoval