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Report: Lakers coaching search “wide open”

May 9, 2011, 10:03 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Regal FC Barcelona Getty Images

The conventional wisdom is that the Lakers would go through the motions of a coaching search, then hire lead assistant Brian Shaw. The reasoning being that they have a two-time championship roster built to run the triangle offense, so you stick with what works.

But there is this one little discussed fact — owner Jerry Buss is not a huge fan of the triangle. He liked all the winning that came with Phil Jackson, but he preferred to watch a more entertaining “show time” transition offense.

Plus that championship offense didn’t look good the last week, did it?

Which is why we should take seriously the report from J.A. Adande at ESPN that the Lakers coaching search is not going to be limited in scope, or move quickly.

“That’s down the road right now,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said (of hiring a coach). “That’s not something that we’re probably going to address right away.”

A source described the Lakers’ coaching search as “wide open.” He said the decision-making chain was executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss, owner Jerry Buss, then Kupchak — “in that order.”

The Lakers management has always been deliberate, not a franchise prone to knee-jerk reactions but trying to picture the long term. That will be the case here.

But that management has to decide first what kind of team they want to have — triangle, motion offense, more transition — and then start building the roster to play it. Then hire a coach to execute it.

Problem is, the Lakers don’t have a lot of room to maneuver to reshape the roster under the current salary cap, let alone the more restrictive one coming with the new collective bargaining agreement. Even if Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes don’t return, they have $88 million in contracts lined up for next season (way over the cap and luxury tax lines). The most moveable assets are the big men — Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum — but getting back equal value is nearly impossible. Plus, do you want to build a running team around Kobe Bryant at this point in his career?

The rebuilding of this roster to play another system — especially if that is a transition to a running offense, which would require a much younger and more athletic roster — is going to take time. Years.

Lots of decisions, and it likely will not be until the coaching search we see what the Lakers are thinking.

  1. florida727 - May 9, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Shaw is NOT a triangle guy. That was far more Tex Winter / Phil Jackson than it ever was Brian Shaw. He did have a life before LA you know. Don’t be surprised to see a complete housecleaning, and that includes Kobe. If Buss truly is committed to revitalizing the team and turning back the clock to ‘showtime’ days, he has very few on the current roster that meets his needs.

  2. flash316 - May 9, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    Bye Kobe!

    • dunkmaster912 - May 9, 2011 at 2:40 PM

      Hahahaha do u seriously think that they would even think of trading kobe? He was a contract that goes through the 2013-2014 season. He also would be making over 30 million dollars for that year. No team in the NBA can afford to take on his contract without completely trading away over half of the players on the team.

  3. decimusprime - May 9, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    kobe will stay but say buh-bye to artest, bynum, brown, and maybe gasol… (lamar odom must stay) and say hello to 3 time defensive player of the year Dwight Howard. then keep shaw at least give him one year (he deserves it).

  4. zblott - May 9, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Unless the new coach is Red Auerbach, expect there to be problems controlling Kobe and his belief that shooting a lot = helping the team win.

    http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2011/5/9/spurs-and-lakers-now-what.html

  5. fouldwimmerlaik - May 9, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    I may be out on a limb here, but you need someone who will not be intimidated by all of the stars who come out to watch the Lakers and someone who will let Kobe do whatever he wants. So, I am thinking Donald Trump would be a great head coach! I will miss Phil. He was so special to me.

  6. davidly - May 9, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Sources close to my imagination say that Shaw has got the job, but that the Lakers front office is considering a shadow coach. Hold on to your hats Laker fans, cause my contact says that they have already been in conversation with a certain Skibby MaRue!

  7. dustman57 - May 9, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    New coach…here’s a thought…Jerry Sloan

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