Reports: Lakers to interview Calipari, Ollie, J. Van Gundy and others for coaching job
It has been less than 24 hours since Mike D'Antoni resigned as Lakers coach, but the team's front office is already planning to pursue a host of high-profile candidates to fill the vacancy.
On Thursday, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reported that the Lakers intend to interview George Karl, Kurt Rambis, Byron Scott and Jeff Van Gundy, among others. ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin also reported that the team plans to reach out to the Bulls about the availability of Tom Thibodeau.
But the Lakers' pool of candidates isn't exclusive to the NBA. The Times and ESPN.com reported that the Lakers also plan to pursue both coaches from 2014 NCAA title game -- Kentucky's John Calipari and UConn's Kevin Ollie.
On the day of the national championship game, former Kentucky star and NBA guard Rex Chapman tweeted that Calipari was headed to the Lakers. The coach, however, denied that report and pledged his allegiance to Kentucky. In the case of Ollie, the 41-year-old played in the league for 13 seasons and has been rumored to be a target for NBA jobs after winning a college title in just his second season.
If the Lakers strike out with the two big guns, ESPN.com is also reporting two additional scenarios for Los Angeles.
Another factor in their thinking, sources say, is leaving the coaching position open in the short term in case a potential free-agent target -- such as LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony -- tells team officials in July that he would consider coming to the Lakers if the coach of his choosing is hired.
Sources say Derek Fisher, currently Durant's teammate in Oklahoma City and one of the most popular players in the Lakers' modern history after coming into the league alongside Kobe Bryant as a rookie in 1996-97, will also be considered if he's indeed interested in making the immediate jump to coaching.
News that Fisher would be an immediate candidate is also interesting, simply because he is still an active player. But as a former longtime Laker, it would make a bit of sense to extend him an interview at the very least. At the same time, if the Lakers manage to lure one of the top-flight free agents, that could potentially shake up the coaching search. ROUNDTABLE: Who should be the next owner of the Clippers?