Don't expect a coaching hire to be announced this week, Clippers fans. According to The Athletic's Jovan Buha, the franchise has yet to establish a clear front-runner for the recently-opened position.
In a lengthy report on LA's decision to part ways with former coach Doc Rivers, Buha states that there is "no clear-cut No. 1 candidate yet" and that the move was made without another coach already lined up for the job.
Instead, the franchise is expected to take its time in searching for a new coach as it enters arguably the most important campaign of its 50-year history.
Tyronn Lue and Jeff Van Gundy are two names that have surfaced in the wake of Rivers' departure, though it's impossible to say how long the full list of names will end up being.
Both of the suspected candidates make varying levels of sense to take over as LA's next head coach, with Lue being the clear preference for many. Not only is he already familiar with the roster, but he won an NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 — something Van Gundy failed to accomplish in his 11 years as coach of the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks.
Per Buha's report, the Clippers don't have a "stylistic mandate or preference" for their next coach, though they do want a "high-level game strategist" who is willing to innovate and make changes on the fly.
Additionally, Buha says the franchise would like to return to playing fun and competitive basketball, as it did in the two seasons that preceded this one.
These were all some of the faults of Rivers' Clippers team this season. The Clippers were pushed to six games by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round and eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the second largely because of Rivers' reluctance to adjust.
Moreover, this simply wasn't an enjoyable team to watch. The Clippers rarely felt like a cohesive unit, didn't play with a ton of joy, and proved that there was a lack of trust among teammates when the going got tough.
As glamorous as it may sound to coach what should be a title-contending team in Los Angeles, whoever inherits the position will immediately be under a lot of pressure to succeed. LA's front office must ensure that Rivers' replacement isn't afraid to make changes — no matter how difficult those may be — in order to compete for an NBA title in 2021.