ESPN’s Adrian Wozniacki gave an update today on the Lakers’ coaching search, and the names won’t knock anyone out of their chairs: The finalists for the job are box assistant Darwin Hamm, Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and Terry Stots, who recently coached Blazers. This information was secondary to Waznarovsky’s headlines: Michigan men’s head coach Juan Howard doesn’t want to be the Lakers’ coach.
The Lakers’ last two seasons have been so devastating that not a single piece of old glamor has survived. The next head coach is an impatient boss, a declining star, and has nothing to do with young or exciting talent. If there’s any indication of Frank Vogel’s tenure, the next head coach may not even know when he’s fired.
The Coaching Search Steering Committee also has some fantastic entertaining misconceptions about job quality: Candidates are being asked how they will use Russell Westbrook in their system. Since Lakers adviser Phil Jackson truly likes Westbrook and believes his game can be rehabilitated, answering along the “trade him” line is not allowed. If you can’t coach the Lakers in their Russia, Jackson’s visit goes, you don’t deserve them in LeBron. Sam Amek of The Athletic reported last week that “Takeaways for candidates, it seems, maximizing Westbrook’s presence after the disaster of the 2021-22 season is considered an important part of this work.” A coaching candidate who can win while maximizing Westbrook’s presence probably has something better than a Lakers coach. Field medal acceptance, for one.
But the real juice of Woj’s update is that Howard “recently turned down a Los Angeles Lakers Overture for coaching job in the franchise,” because he wants to coach his sons Jass and Jet in Michigan. It’s always funny when basketball insiders fit the language of the courtship (bold, considering some basketball insiders know nothing about love). If you like creating a game to find out what leaked to someone, this story doesn’t pose much of a challenge. What you want to take here is that Howard is very much in the overcharging business these days, so he is enticing.
“Brad Stevens, president of the Boston Celtics, was interested in Howard starting his coaching career a year ago, but Howard turned down that overcharge as well,” Waz wrote. I don’t think it’s entirely correct to say that the Lakers are no longer worth the job. It’s something you can refuse to feel cold in public.