After keeping focus both on the NBA draft and free agency, the Lakers will shift back to their coaching search that has already lasted nearly three months. Byron Scott will meet with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive Jim Buss on Wednesday, according to a league source familiar with the situation. This will mark his third formal interview Scott will have with the Lakers since the coaching search started after Mike D’Antoni resigned on April 30.
Scott is expected to talk to the Lakers’ brass about the team’s personnel in the wake of a flurry of free agent moves. It is not expected Scott will field an offer at this specific offer and dive into contract negotiations. After missing out on both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, the Lakers acquired Jeremy Lin and a 2015 first and second round draft pick from the Houston Rockets for the rights of overseas player Sergei Lishchuk. The Lakers lost out on Pau Gasol, but they kept Nick Young (four years, $21.5 million) and Jordan Hill (two years, $18 million).
The Lakers are expected to hire their coach within the next one to two weeks, according to a league source familiar with the situation. But the source also added the hiring “could happen within a couple of days.” The Lakers plan to have follow-up interviews, though it remains unclear if they would go beyond talking to Scott again.
The Lakers have contacted Scott, Mike Dunleavy, Kurt Rambis, Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins and George Karl. But several candidates have dropped out by virtue of other jobs, including Hollins (Brooklyn Nets’ head coach), Gentry (Golden State Warriors associate coach) and Rambis (New York Knicks assistant coach). Dunleavy had a formal interview only with Kupchak. Karl had an informal phone conversation with Kupchak. It is “possible” the Lakers will have interviews with other candidates, according to a league source, but it is not definitive.
“It’s still open,” Scott said last on Friday on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. “I know, in my dealings in talking with Mitch and Jim, they want to get the roster together and then focus on the coaching. So, myself, or whoever else are the other candidates, that’s what we’re all waiting for and we’re kind of looking at what’s going on [in free agency] to see if that’s all done and then see next week what they’re going to do with the coaching vacancy. So, it’s just one of those things that’s a wait-and-see game right now, but like I said, I like the moves that they made. I think it’s going to help the team and strengthen the team, and obviously it still puts them in a good, flexible position for next year.”
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