Who Will Be the Lakers' Next Head Coach?
Five games into the season, the Lakers have to start over from scratch after firing head coach Mike Brown. The Lakers started a disappointing 1-4 with calls for Brown's head coming from fans all through social media.
The Lakers played the role of Salome, so now where does that leave them?
"It is more likely we look at coaches that are presently not employed," general manager Mitch Kupchak said during a press conference this afternoon. So here's a list of possibilities.
Phil Jackson. In cases like this, the first name on everyone's mouth in Los Angeles is Phil Jackson. Even Kupchak acknowledged him in his press conference this afternoon.
"When there's a coach like Phil Jackson, one of the all-time greats, and he's not coaching, you'd be negligent not to be aware he's out there."
There's no doubt Jackson can turn around a team quickly. Hell, he made a team with a starting point guard in Smush Parker a playoff team. He's made a career of being able to handle the egos of superstar talent and, most importantly, has 11 titles as a coach.
But there's a huge elephant in this particular room. By going back to Jackson, it will be a complete repudiation of owner Jim Buss. It's bad enough Buss had to fire the first head coach who was completely his hire. But will he be able to swallow enough pride in going back to a system that he wanted to expunge from the organization?
Perhaps Buss has been assuaged a little by landing both Steve Nash and Dwight Howard during the offseason, but even in that process the Lakers got rid of his first draft pick Andrew Bynum.
Mike D'Antoni. For people who hated the offense the Lakers ran this season, this hire will be a revelation. Of course this will reunite Nash and D'Antoni, and with Kobe Bryant's connections with Italian basketball there will be smiles all around.
But D'Antoni is coming off of knee surgery and is still not on his feet. One would think he would still need to undergo rehab before he can take on the task of coaching the Lakers to a championship.
Of course this ignores the fact that the Lakers are awful on defense. No one equates D'Antoni with defense, so the offense will have to be a well oiled machine to compensate for that.
Too bad Nash is scheduled to be out for a month with a small fracture in his left fibula.
Jerry Sloan. Are you kidding me? We've already highlighted Kobe's death stare of Brown in Utah. Can you imagine if Kobe pulled that off on Sloan? It would be a rehash of the scene in Kill Bill 2 where Daryl Hannah's character had her eye removed by Pai Mei.
Not a peep has been heard from Sloan since he resigned from the Utah Jazz after nearly 23 seasons in Salt Lake City in 2011. He's a strict disciplinarian that will not play well with these Lakers. Besides he'd much rather stay on his farm rather than butt heads with Kobe.
Bryan Shaw. He was part of the Phil Jackson purge by Jim Buss, and he hasn't forgotten it. Even though he's a Kobe-approved choice, I doubt enough time has passed for those wounds to heal.
Jeff Van Gundy. It's been five years since head last coached. Enough said.
Stan Van Gundy. That will work well with Dwight Howard.
Bernie Bickerstaff. He is the interim coach of the Lakers, although there is no plan for him the interim tag to be dropped. "Crazier things have happened in this league," Kupchak said about the possibility of Bickerstaff being the full time head coach. So you're saying there's a chance?
The 68-year old Bickerstaff has an overall 415-517 record as a head coach with the Seattle Supersonics, Denver Nuggets, Washington Bullets/Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats going 12-21 in the playoffs.
Barring a miracle, I doubt those credentials will get him the job.
Darryl Sutter. Why not? It worked for the Kings last year. Actually this is just an excuse for me to whine, "WHEN DOES THE NHL SEASON START?!!!"
Other. I never expected Mike Brown to be the head coach of the Lakers. But there he was. So there could be a whole litany of other coaches to guide the Lakers.
Whatever happens, Kupchak was clear on one thing. "We're not looking five or ten years down the road," he said. "This team was built to contend this year."
The road starts tonight as the Lakers host the Golden State Warriors.