We don't have a picture of Steve Clifford, but we can tell that Stan Van Gundy is thrilled by this turn of events. THRILLED, I tell you. (Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE)
With Dwight Howard in the fold and everyone running about trying to process how good this Laker squad could be, other relevant Laker news tends to fall by the wayside, such as the swift pivot made by Mitch Kupchak to sign Jodie Meeks right after the Howard trade was in the books. On that note, the Lakers have apparently made a move to fill one of the few remaining holes on the team: the vacancy in the coaching staff created by the departure of Ettore Messina and Quin Snyder to CSKA Moscow. Per CSNNW's Chris Haynes:
The terms of the agreement are expected to be finalized by the end of the week.
Clifford should be a familiar face to Howard, as he has served as an assistant to Stan Van Gundy in Orlando since 2007. Before that, he was on the bench with Jeff Van Gundy in Houston from 2003-07, and per Haynes, considers himself to be a disciple of the Van Gundy brothers, particularly their focus on the defensive end. Clifford started his NBA tenure as an assistant with the Knicks in 2001, and also has a decade of college coaching experience under his belt. Before agreeing to come to the Lakers, he was under consideration for the head coaching spots in Orlando and Portland, which is an endearing validation of his bona fides.
Assuming that Eddie Jordan is still going to be signed, as we have received no official comment on his possible hiring aside from an extensive post from Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski on how the Lakers will implement the Princeton offense under Jordan's auspices, this should finalize the Lakers' coaching corps. It is not clear whether Clifford will have a designated role such as John Kuester (offense) and Chuck Person (defense) do, but altogether, he appears to be a fairly solid addition to the team.
h/t to user agolden, who graciously brought this to our attention.