Lakers take next step in head coach search

Tony Nguyen | Los Angeles Lakers
May 14, 2024

The Los Angeles Lakers moved on from Darvin Ham and are now searching for their next head coach. According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Lakers are expected to begin reaching out to candidates soon.

Miami Heat assistant Chris Quinn, New Orleans Pelicans assistant James Borrego, and former player JJ Redick were among the possible candidates listed by ESPN.

Redick has been linked to multiple head coaching jobs. The Charlotte Hornets were initially listed as a possibility for Redick before they hired Boston Celtics assistant Charles Lee.

Redick has expressed a desire to coach in the NBA. The Lakers, though, could potentially prefer a candidate with more coaching experience. That is just speculation, but there is one thing that the Lakers are rumored to be searching for in their next head coach, via ESPN.

“In (Rob) Pelinka’s conversations with officials across the league, the term ‘grinder’ keeps coming up in the general manager’s description of an important characteristic for the next coach, sources said,” the ESPN article reads.

LeBron James‘ impact on Lakers’ coaching search

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) controls the ball against the Denver Nuggets during the second half in game three of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Arena.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers are in an interesting position. They were a play-in team in 2023-24. Los Angeles was ultimately eliminated early in the postseason.

In 2022-23, the Lakers reached the Western Conference Finals despite a mediocre regular season. When the Lakers play well, they can compete with some of the better teams in the league. The issue is their consistency.

Los Angeles has gone through stretches over the past couple of years where they simply do not look like a playoff team. Other times, though, the potential is clearly evident.

LeBron James has a player option for the 2024-25 campaign. The Lakers’ direction as a franchise may depend upon where James ends up this offseason.

If James opts out of his deal and signs elsewhere, one has to wonder if the Lakers will enter a rebuild. Anthony Davis is a great player, but Los Angeles’ roster has question marks.

If LeBron opts in or if he re-signs after opting out, then the Lakers will have no choice but to try to contend. James is going to turn 40 years old in December and he wants to contend during the final seasons of his career.

James’ future may play a role in the Lakers’ final head coaching decision. But there are other factors to consider.

Rumors have suggested that LeBron wants to play on the same team with his son Bronny James. If Bronny gets selected in the 2024 NBA Draft, LeBron may follow him to the team. Of course, the Lakers may opt to draft Bronny in order to entice LeBron to stay.

In the end, there are a lot of uncertainties around this whole situation. The one thing we know for sure is that the Lakers need to hire a head coach who can help the franchise find consistency once again. There was a time when Los Angeles was seemingly always competing for championships.

The Lakers expect to win. A head coach will not completely make or break a roster. However, hiring the best possible candidate will give the Lakers an opportunity to take a step in the right direction.