It did not take long after the Los Angeles Lakers season ended in flaming mess of disaster for the rumor mill to begin swirling and spitting out names in association with the soon-to-be-vacant position of Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach. The first names on everybody's lips were the ones we've been prepared for all along. Brian Shaw, in-house candidate. Rick Adelman, big name and offensive guru. Jeff Van Gundy, big name and defensive guru. We didn't even wait until the book was closed on Phil Jackson's illustrious career to start naming the merits and failings of the "short list" (In our defense, we would have waited if Phil Jackson himself weren't leading the way in discussing his pending retirement as a certainty.)
It's no surprise the Lakers haven't pulled the trigger and offered anybody the job yet. After all, there is much to consider, far more than your normal run of the mill coaching vacancy. For one, its the LOS ANGELES LAKERS, the flagship franchise of the entire league. For another, though their exit from this year's playoffs was seriously lacking in glory, the Lakers are still in possession of a highly talented roster theoretically capable of jumping right back in the discussion of championship contenders. There will be more pressure, and more potential for success, for the Lakers next head coach than there will be for any other newcomer next season, and therefore, it makes perfect sense that the front office is taking its sweet time in weighing all the potential options. Hell, when you take any possible lockout effects into consideration, it seems likely that the search might continue on for weeks, maybe even months.
And yet, judging by the decreasing quality of names being leaked in association with the job, one can't help but hope the Lakers will hurry things up and pick one of their top choice candidates, because every new name that gets mentioned as a contender seems worse than the last. First, it was annouced that Mike Dunleavy Sr. was getting "strong consideration" as a candidate, touching off panic throughout Lakers Nation. Anybody who failed with (i.e. coached) the Clippers seems ill-suited to take the reigns of this exotic car of a team. Now, word on the street is that Mike Brown, he of the one page playbook, might be a contender. Eeesh. Don't get me wrong, Mike Brown knows a thing or two about defense, but he thrills me as a head coaching candidate about as much as a Saturday afternoon pulling weeds in my backyard.
Who's next? Kurt Rambis after his inevitable firing? Eric Musselman? Rick Patino? Isiah Thomas? If the Lakers don't hurry up and pick somebody, I fear the list of names associated with the job might include such terrible candidates that we might be randomly induced to vommit for the next month or so. Do the right thing and hire one of big boys (or Shaw), Mitch. If I have to hear that Mark Jackson is being considered, I can't be held responsible for my actions.