Lakers News: Brian Windhorst Makes Stunning Revelation About LA Coaching Job

Upon reflection, he does make a pretty salient point.
Mar 22, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; On the left Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka talks with head coach Darvin Ham (right) prior to the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 22, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; On the left Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka talks with head coach Darvin Ham (right) prior to the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports / Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers remain one of just two NBA franchises without a head coach, after being embarrassingly shunned by reigning two-time NCAA champion University of Connecticut Huskies coach Dan Hurley earlier this week. The other is the Cleveland Cavaliers. Stunningly, the league's glamour franchise is considered the less desirable of the two destinations.

During a Tuesday appearance on WKNR ESPN 850 Cleveland, ESPN's Brian Windhorst revealed that the various folks vying for the two jobs see the Cavaliers job, not the Lakers gig, as the more appetizing of the two options.

In a recent ESPN piece, Windhorst elaborates on the drawbacks of working for this current L.A. roster and organization. 2016 free agency aside, the Lakers have generally been a top market for the world's best players, they play in the media hub of the country, and they've won a league-record (for now, although the Boston Celtics are in danger of surpassing this mark in a few games) 17 titles.

As Windhorst notes, Los Angeles has been higher than the Western Conference's No. 7 seed only once across the last 12 seasons (they were the No. 1 seed in 2019, and won their 17th banner that season). They have, however, made the Western Conference Finals twice since All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis first joined forces five seasons ago. James is already the league's oldest player, and will turn 40 next season (he has a player option worth $51.4 million with L.A. for next season, though he's generally expected to return to Tinseltown, one way or another). Davis himself is 31, and has had major injury problems for years (although he was remarkably healthy in 2023-24).

Fan expectations and an impatient ownership group and front office have also played a factor in making L.A. strangely unappealing. Even with Frank Vogel bringing the Lakers a championship in 2020, no head coach has held onto the gig for more than three years since Phil Jackson ditched the team for good in 2011. Most recently, Los Angeles fired Darvin Ham after a brief two-season stint.

The Cavaliers, on the other hand, don't quite have the weight of championship expectations. They also boast a far younger team, with four All-Stars, all of whom have significant trade value. This spring, Cleveland made the second round of the playoffs for the first time since James left for Los Angeles in 2018. Cavaliers ownership itself grew impatient with now-ex-head coach J.B. Bickerstaff anyway, and is hoping to make further inroads towards true contention in a wide-open Eastern Conference.

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Alex Kirschenbaum

ALEX KIRSCHENBAUM

Basketball is Alex's favorite sport, he likes the way they dribble up and down the court.