Lakers receive permission from Golden State to interview Luke Walton

The Golden State Warriors granted permission to the Lakers to interview assistant coach Luke Walton . (Photos by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

The Golden State Warriors granted permission to the Lakers to interview assistant coach Luke Walton . (Photos by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lakers are completing the beginning steps of their coaching search by pursuing someone both familiar by name and intriguing by potential.

The Golden State Warriors have granted the Lakers permission to interview assistant Luke Walton once their first-round series ends against the Houston Rockets.

Walton’s schedule could become relatively more flexible if the Warriors eliminate the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of their first-round series in Oakland on Wednesday.
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Kobe Bryant tells doctor he has sweating problem in Ellen DeGeneres prank

Kobe Bryant became an open book in recent years. But who knew that would entail sharing one of his most private and embarrassing secrets?

The former Lakers’ star became known as the Black Mamba for punishing his prey with a high lethal dosage of buckets. But who knew Bryan’s teammates also called him, “Sweat Midler?”

In a moment that became even more uncomfortable than having to guard him, Bryant told an esthetician that he sweats profusely. It happens when he plays. It happens when he stands up and jumps. It happens so much that his teammates constantly made fun of him.

Through nearly six minutes of awkwardness, Bryant then revealed another secret of his. This all served as a prank for the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.” All of which revealed that Bryant does not have a sweating problem. He is just really really good in acting.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers to hold auction and raffle to own pieces of Kobe Bryant’s last game

Kobe Bryant waves to fans after scoring 60 points in the final game of his career against the against the Utah Jazz. April 13, 2016. Los Angeles, CA.Ê (Photo by David Crane/Southern California News Group)

Kobe Bryant waves to fans after scoring 60 points in the final game of his career against the against the Utah Jazz. April 13, 2016. Los Angeles, CA.Ê (Photo by David Crane/Southern California News Group)

Well after he finished his final game and delivered a masterpiece to cap off a 20-year NBA career, Kobe Bryant stood at center court. The Lakers’ star knelt down and signed his name on the hardwood panels that formed his jersey numbers, “8” and “24.”

It marked Bryant’s final gesture toward saying goodbye to both a game and organization he loved. Nearly two weeks later, that moment also turned into an opportunity for the Lakers to hold an auction and raffle to benefit the Lakers Youth Foundation.

The Lakers will auction off three panels of hardwood to create the No. 8 at a $10,000 starting price. MeiGray, the NBA’s official game used memorabilia authenticator, will sell the three panels as a single item in an online auction.

The Lakers will also hold a raffle for memorabilia from Bryant’s final game, with tickets starting at $10 through NetRaffle.org. Fans can purchase raffle tickets for the change to win of the 24 autographed tickets of Bryant’s last game. That will also run through May 13.

“Conducting a raffle with a low price point gives all of our fans an opportunity to own a keepsake from that memorable night in Lakers history,” Kiesha Nix, Executive Director of the Lakers Youth Foundation said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Lakers will display the panels creating the No. 24 at their new practice facility in El Segundo.

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Lakers coaching search: Lakers keeping an open mind on next candidate

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers’ Jeanie Buss says front office will be judged by “wins and losses”

The ticking clock has sounded louder and louder.

The Lakers’ continual struggles has brought more reminders of the self-imposed timeline Lakers executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss outlined regarding his expectations on how long it would take for the team to become Western Conference contenders.

In 2014, Jim Buss told his five siblings, including Lakers president Jeanie Buss, he would step down in three years if the team did not reach that benchmark. That expiration date apparently is set for after the 2016-17 season.

“He’s the one who made it public,” Jeanie Buss said an appearance on Colin Cowherd’s radio show on Tuesday. “I have no reason to think he cannot be successful in terms of putting together a winning team.”

There are plenty of reasons to wonder, though, if it is realistic to achieve that goal in one year.

For all the glory surrounding the Lakers’ 16 NBA championships. they have only set recent trends in losing and instability.

They have set franchise records for worst losses in a season for two consecutive years. They have struck out both in playoff appearances and landing an elite free agent for three consecutive years. They have gone through a coaching search for the fourth time in five years.

And yet…

“What I made clear to our front office is we’re going to be judged by wins and losses,” Jeanie Buss said. “It isn’t about having a marquee star player and coming in last place. That’s not what Lakers basketball is. Lakers basketball is winning basketball.”
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Lakers receive permission from Spurs to interview assistant Ettore Messina

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak plans to interview Spurs assistant Ettore Messina soon. (Robert Casillas - Staff Photographer)

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak plans to interview Spurs assistant Ettore Messina soon. (Robert Casillas – Staff Photographer)

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.

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James Worthy believed Lakers would have granted Byron Scott more time

Former Lakers star James Worthy, who is an analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet, believed Byron Scott would have been retained despite coaching the Lakers to a combined 38-126 record through two seasons. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Former Lakers star James Worthy, who is an analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet, believed Byron Scott would have been retained despite coaching the Lakers to a combined 38-126 record through two seasons. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The affection James Worthy holds for the Lakers’ franchise seems as versatile as the skillset he once brought during the beloved Showtime Era.

Worthy has remained one of the organization’s longtime television analysts first with KCAL-9 and currently with Time Warner Cable Access SportsNet. He happily represented the Lakers during the NBA draft lottery two years ago when they received the seventh overall pick. Last season, James helped the Lakers’ players as a consultant.

Yet, Worthy argued on Monday that the Lakers should have retained his former teammate Byron Scott as the franchise’s head coach for the 2016-17 season.

“I’m not surprised,” Worthy said on TWC SportsNet, mindful of Scott’s combined 38-126 record through two seasons. “I just thought they’d give him at least until February or half the season before they made that decision.”

Instead, the Lakers decided on Sunday night they would not exercise their team option to retain Scott for his third season. Worthy acknowledged the “coach is responsible” as the Lakers finished the last two seasons with their worst records in franchise history. Yet, Worthy cited external variables that he argued became more difficult to hold Scott at fault.

Kobe Bryant experienced season-long challenges with his health before appeared in 66 out of 82 games in his 20th and final NBA season, including the season-finale where he posted 60 points on 22-50 shooting. Though he did not suffer a season-ending injury as he did in the previous three seasons, Bryant averaged only 17.6 points on a career-low 35.8 percent mark from the field. Meanwhile, the Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown all sparked both intrigue with their long-term potential and angst with their short-term growing pains.

“For the young players, it’s going to take them some time,” Worthy said. “It was almost like a baby was born on Monday and you expected them to be walking on Friday. I know that’s hard for fans to understand.”
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Lakers coaching search: Lakers plan to draw from heavy list of candidates

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. (Robert Casillas - Staff Photographer)

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. (Robert Casillas – Staff Photographer)

With the Lakers parting ways with Byron Scott on Sunday night, they did not just try to cleanse themselves from two seasons that ended with their worst record in franchise history. The Lakers also hoped to find the right coach for what will mark their fourth search since Phil Jackson retired in 2011.

As of now, the Lakers are treating how to fill their current coaching vacancy with an open mind. They plan to compile a “long list of people,” as one person familiar with the situation said. Those candidates will include varying backgrounds and degrees of coaching experience.
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Lakers coaching search: Kevin Ollie intrigued about possibility

In this March 28, 2014 file photo, Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie shouts instructions during the first half in a regional semifinal against Iowa State in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in New York.  (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

In this March 28, 2014 file photo, Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie shouts instructions during the first half in a regional semifinal against Iowa State in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

Count Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie as one of the many presumed candidates who would be interested in coaching the Lakers.

Although he has remained happy coaching the Huskies for the past four years, Ollie finds the Lakers’ head-coaching vacancy intriguing, according to a source familiar with his thinking.

Though it would be viewed as a common courtesy, the Lakers would not need to seek permission from the Huskies to interview Ollie. Unlike coaches on opposing NBA teams, no NCAA program can levy tampering charges. But some complications could emerge surrounding Ollie’s contract should the Lakers want to hire him to replace Byron Scott.

Ollie has three years left on his contract with UConn after signing a five-year extension in 2014. But with former Huskies athletic director Warde Manuel leaving for the University of Michigan earlier this season, Ollie has a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave for another team without incurring fees from a buyout, according to sources familiar with the deal. A source added, however, those terms would not go into effect until March, 2017, though the costs are believed to be relatively nominal.
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Larry Nance Jr. sympathetic to challenges Byron Scott faced as Lakers coach

Byron Scott is out as coach of Lakers after two season. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/LA Daily News, File)

Byron Scott is out as coach of Lakers after two season. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/LA Daily News, File)

The criticism mounted as Byron Scott oversaw the Lakers finish with their worst record in franchise history for two consecutive years. That only increased over Scott’s stern approach toward a young roster that showed both upside and a learning curve.

All of which Lakers rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. considered “not fair.”

“He had a lot of pressure on him that didn’t really allow him to open up and coach,” Nance told the Southern California News Group about Scott. “Sometimes that’s how it goes, and the politics get the best of it. I feel for him — this was an impossible job.”
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Lakers dismiss Byron Scott as head coach

Lakers exit interviews with Lakers coach Byron Scott and GM Mitch Kupchak Friday April 15, 2016. Coach Scott talks about last quarter of Kobe Bryant’s legendary final game. Photo By Robert Casillas / Daily Breeze

Lakers exit interviews with Lakers coach Byron Scott and GM Mitch Kupchak Friday April 15, 2016. Coach Scott talks about last quarter of Kobe Bryant’s legendary final game. Photo By Robert Casillas / Daily Breeze

After overseeing the Lakers finish with their worst record in franchise history for two consecutive years, Byron Scott will not coach the Lakers in the 2016-17 season, according sources familiar with the situation.

It is not immediately clear who will replace Scott or if any of his assistants will be retained, including Paul Pressey, Mark Madsen, Larry Lewis, Jim Eyen and Thomas Scott. The Lakers lost out on potential coaching candidates after mulling Scott’s future for the week. Those possibilities included Tom Thibodeau (Minnesota) and Scott Brooks (Washington). Possible replacements for Scott could include Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton, former Rockets and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, UConn coach Kevin Ollie and San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina.

Accounts initially categorized Scott’s third year of his contract as guaranteed. But Scott’s third year is actually not fully guaranteed, according to a league source familiar with the terms. The Lakers also had a team option on Scott for the 2017-18 season.

Scott will end his two-year stint with the Lakers with a combined 38-126 record, which pits up just above George Mikan for the franchise’s worst all-time winning percentage among their 20 coaches. Scott compiled a .232 winning percentage, while Mikan had a .231 winning percentage when the 1958 Minneapolis Lakers went 9-30.
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