The Los Angeles Lakers’ offseason doesn’t seem to going any better than its regular season did. In the latest debacle for the increasingly shambolic franchise, Tyronn Lue and the team have reportedly ended talks over L.A.'s head coaching vacancy.
After Monty Williams accepted an offer to become the Phoenix Suns’ new coach — which some interpreted as a reflection of how unattractive the Lakers’ job has become — Lue became an obvious target for Los Angeles. As a coach, he and Lakers star LeBron James won a championship together with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. And as a player, he helped the Lakers to NBA titles in 2000 and 2001.
But reports Wednesday indicated that Lue was miffed about the team’s proposed contract of approximately $18 million over three years. And NBA Twitter was buzzing.
Jason Kidd, the former Milwaukee Bucks coach who was mentioned in a few of the tweets above, played with James on Team USA. Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard was James’s teammate in South Florida.
The tweet from Tania Ganguli, the Lakers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times, indicates that the team’s pool of candidates has been expanded to include former Brooklyn Nets coach Lionel Hollins, former Orlando Magic coach Frank Vogel and former Los Angeles Clippers assistant Mike Woodson, who was previously head coach of the New York Knicks.
The Lakers fired Luke Walton, who went 98-148 in three years at the helm of the team, in April. That included a 37-45 record this season that represented a massive disappointment, given the expectations that followed the signing of James last summer as well as the anticipated development of the Lakers’ young talent.
While Walton’s dismissal was expected, the abrupt resignation days before of Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, was a shocking development. James recently discussed his confusion around the decision, one Johnson told reporters about before having a face-to-face discussion with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.
Former Lakers player and Knicks assistant Kurt Rambis is aiding Buss and General Manager Rob Pelinka in the search for a new coach, according to ESPN, which cited league sources. ESPN’s report notes that Rambis has “assumed an increasingly powerful voice in basketball operations.”
The growing sense that a cloud of turmoil is surrounding the Lakers was bolstered by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who said that a source told him: “Nothing is out of bounds right now. We don’t know what the hell is going on in Los Angeles.”
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