Following the NBA draft lottery, the Los Angeles Lakers have been busy searching for a coach.
Although the team has not formally commented on how many candidates have interviewed since the lottery ball slotted into the No. 7 spot, NBC Los Angeles has learned that the team had already interviewed five coaching candidates as of Monday morning.
As reported by various sources, Mike Dunleavy and Byron Scott were the first two men to formally discuss the open position with the Lakers’ front office. With both guys having history with the team -- Scott as a former player and Dunleavy as a former coach -- those interviews served as a comfortable starting point.
Shortly thereafter, Yahoo! Sports reported that Lionel Hollins, formerly coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, was expected to interview with the team. The LA Times reported last week that the Lakers expected to meet with Hollins on May 29. The Times also reported that Alvin Gentry, who served as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2013-14 season, was listed as an official candidate.
With two familiar faces and two foreign faces in the books, the Lakers interviewed Kurt Rambis, a former player and current assistant coach.
The team has not officially commented on the search beyond Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak confirming that the search had begun on a conference call shortly after the NBA’s draft lottery.
With Derek Fisher’s Oklahoma City Thunder out of the NBA Playoffs, the former Lakers point guard is widely expected to transition into a role on an NBA bench. Whether that role is in New York, Los Angeles or some other city remains to be seen, but Fisher did answer a couple questions about potentially coaching Kobe Bryant.
“I hadn’t thought about that much, but when you’re brothers, you’re brothers -- regardless of what capacity it’s in,” The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry reported Fisher’s responses to potentially coaching Bryant. “If something like that were to happen, we’re brothers, so we’ll figure it out.”
On his conference call, Kupchak made a point to explain that the Lakers’ next coach would be judged on his ability to maximize Bryant, and Fisher would certainly fall into that category. Even if the Lakers are satisfied with one of the five men they have already interviewed, a sit-down with Fisher should be expected considering the front office has made it clear that there is no rush to name a replacement to Mike D’Antoni, who resigned shortly after the season.
Regardless of who the Lakers eventually hire, the fan base appears content with the departure of D’Antoni. Fisher’s return to the Lakers, however, may add that slight bit of added interest, encouragement and excitement the Lakers have lacked from the fan base over the two tumultuous tenures of D’Antoni and Mike Brown.
Fisher may not solve all of the Lakers' problems, but he definitely knows how to work with Bryant.