Coach K in LA?
According to ESPN.com, Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski is in "serious discussions" with the Lakers about their head coaching vacancy. Jim Gray added on SportsCenter that Mitch Kupchak (a North Carolina alum) was in the Tar Heel State today visiting Krzyzewski and has offered him the job.
The move is something of a shock. It had been reported for weeks that Rudy Tomjanovich was the front-runner for the job. Today, the LA Times added Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo to the list of candidates, which is also thought to include Kurt Rambis, Jim Cleamons, and George Karl.
Additionally, no one ever thought Coach K would leave Duke. He's turned down numerous head coaching jobs before from teams like the Celtics and Trail Blazers, but this proves that the Lakers with or without Shaq and Kobe are the NBA's flagship franchise.
While LAist acknowledges that the track record of college coaches going pro is unimpressive, Coach K is a little different giving that he is unquestionably the best in the NCAA.
Perhaps, Krzyzewski is also a little weary with the growing irrelevance of the college game. Coach K lost Luol Deng after just one year to the NBA, and Shaun Livingston left for the Clippers before he even arrived at Durham. In recent years, Duke also has seen Elton Brand, William Avery, Corey Maggette, Mike Dunleavy, Jay Williams, and Carlos Boozer all leave after playing fewer than four years.
What would this mean for the Lakers however? Well, reportedly Krzyzewski is exactly who Kobe Bryant wants as his coach. Kobe has acknowledged that he would have gone to Duke had he played in college. We at LAist are a little surprised, however, that the mere whims of a man on trial for rape can lead to the departure of the winningest coach in NBA Playoff history in Phil Jackson, the trading of a future Hall-of-Famer in Shaq, and now potentially the downfall of the strongest program in all of college basketball in Duke.
Still, Coach K has the credentials to earn respect from any team he coaches, and he wouldn't leave Duke unless the opportunity was truly worthwhile. Is Coach K enough to get the Lakers to keep both Kobe and Shaq? Whatever happens, LAist likes the idea of Coach K in LA.