The Los Angeles Lakers may be looking to pursue potentially outgoing Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, according to Jordan Schultz of Huffington Post Sports. The Lakers are coming off of the losingest season in franchise history under current head coach Byron Scott, who just completed his first season at the helm.
Like all rumors, this one should be taken with a grain of salt for a few reasons. For one, it would mean the Lakers would be firing a third consecutive coach who did not make it two full seasons. Thibodeau has also not been fired by the Bulls yet, and Scott is still under the employ of the Lakers, even representing the team when it took home the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft at last night's lottery.
Thibodeau, who helped revolutionize NBA defense with the 2008 Boston Celtics, would almost assuredly improve a Lakers defense which was a major issue for the team last season, ranking second to last in defensive rating (108) only ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves, owners of the worst record in the league and the first overall selection in the draft. The old platitude is that defense wins championships, but the Lakers and Wolves certainly make the argument that a lack of it wins lotteries.
Even with the Lakers owning a young core of whoever they select with the second pick, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle in addition to Thibodeau getting to coach Kobe Bryant in the final season of his career, it is hard to see this scenario as particularly likely. Bryant and Thibodeau have long held respect for one another, and Bryant reportedly wanted the Lakers to hire Thibodeau last summer before the team ended up hiring Scott.
Given all of the variables in play (the Bulls firing Thibodeau and the Lakers firing Scott, all while both teams are concurrently readying themselves for the draft and free agency), Lakers fans should not hold their breath for the team making this particular change. There's also the option of both sides coming to an agreement and working out a trade, but it doesn't sound like it's anything that serious at this point for the Lakers.