Los Angeles

Glum Lakers Fans Were Protesting at Staples Center, Then Clipper Darrell Showed Up

The Lakers are still searching for someone to lead the team back to the playoffs after a six-season drought

What to Know

  • Former Indiana and Orlando coach Frank Vogel was expected to be interviewed for the Lakers head coaching job
  • ormer Memphis Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff also was expected to meet with the team
  • The Lakers have missed the playoffs six straight seasons

Los Angeles Lakers fans organized a protest Friday as the storied basketball franchise tries to quickly rebound in their head coaching search after failing to land Tyronn Lue.

Fans dressed in team colors, some carrying signs, were part of the small, but vocal, protest outside Staples Center in the shadows of the statues of Lakers greats Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and legendary broadcaster Chick Hearn. Six looming reminders of the 16-time NBA champions' glorious past.

Heavy on the minds of fans was this season's 37-45 record and six-season postseason drought.

"Two messages. One is, we love you and still support you. Two is that we need a new front office," said fan Aaron Jimenez.

And, as if the gunmetal sky and light rain weren't enough to dampen the mood, Clipper Darrell showed up in his Clippers jacket and hat.

"Jerry West is here baby, he's going to be a Clipper for life," said Clipper Darrell, making sure to mention the Clippers exec. "I just want to thank Jerry West from the bottom of my heart.

"I can't believe how the tables have turned in LA."

The Lakers have missed the playoffs six straight seasons. The playoff drought was expected to end this season but injuries to LeBron James, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, as well as internal discord, resulted in a 37-45 record. Magic Johnson resigned as president of basketball operations prior to the final regular-season game on April 9.

So, after the team failed to reach an agreement with former Cavs coach Lue, where do the Lakers go from here?

"It's a combination of showing my support for the Lakers and Jeanie (Buss) and also showing my frustration," said fan Owen Odigie. "I think all our problems are solvable. We just need to stop making so many missteps. All we need to do is get our act together."

A person familiar with the search told The  Associated Press former Indiana and Orlando coach Frank Vogel was in town to be interviewed for the opening. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the person wasn't at liberty to publicly discuss negotiations.

Vogel flew to Los Angeles on Thursday.

The 45-year old Vogel has worked for the organization before as an advance scout during the 2005-06 season. He did not coach last season following two years with the Orlando Magic. Vogel went to Orlando following five-plus seasons leading the Pacers, including two trips to the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and '14. The Pacers lost both years to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Vogel is the fifth candidate known to have interviewed for the opening since the Lakers dismissed Luke Walton on April 12. Los Angeles was thought to be on the verge of hiring Lue this week before talks broke down. They have also considered Monty Williams, who was hired by the Phoenix Suns, Juwan Howard and Jason Kidd.

Besides interviewing with owner Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka, Vogel is expected to meet with co-owners Jesse Buss (director of scouting) and Joey Buss (president of the Lakers' G-League team) as well as senior adviser Kurt Rambis, chief operating officer Tim Harris and director of special projects Linda Rambis.

Former Memphis Grizzlies coach J.B. Bickerstaff also is in the interview mix, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was set to meet Friday with team management in El Segundo, the Times reported, citing several people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

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