The man has seemingly accomplished everything in basketball. Ettore Messina has coached countless championship teams. Plenty consider him to have one of the most intelligent minds in the sport.
Yet, Messina still has not become an NBA head coach perhaps until now. The Lakers recently received permission from the San Antonio Spurs to interview Messina for their vacant head-coaching position, Southern California News Group confirmed.
It is not immediately clear when the Lakers will speak with Messina. With the Spurs beginning the Western Conference semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, Messina has some time to shift focus between preparing for the Thunder and preparing to interview with the Lakers.
The Lakers know Messina well after he served as a consultant for Mike Brown during the 2011-12 season. The Lakers once called Messina the “Phil Jackson of international basketball” after having a successful European coaching career, including winning four Cups of Italy with Virtus Bologna, three cups of Italy with Treviso and two Russian Cups with CSKA Moscow.
Messina has hoped to become an NBA head coach, but he left the Lakers following the 2011-12 season to have more head coaching experience with CSKA Moscow, where he also coached from 2005 to 2008. The Lakers also did not consider Messina following Mike D’Antoni’s resignation in 2014 because they narrowed their search on only candidates who had previous NBA head-coaching experience. Meanwhile, Messina joined Gregg Popovich’s coaching staff in San Antonio that same summer.