The Los Angeles Lakers have had two notable deficiencies in recent years: coaching, and recruiting free agents. The front office attempted to address the former concern when they parted ways with head coach Byron Scott, and will reportedly attempt to address the latter in their search for his replacement.
Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reported Monday that "the Lakers are looking for a new, 'recruiter-in-chief, as one source said...'That appears to be the No. 1 priority,' a league source told Sporting News. 'It's not just finding a guy to work with what's on the roster. They need a coach who can pitch players.'"
The Lakers have famously failed in their pursuits of Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, and LaMarcus Aldridge over the last few summers, but it's worth asking if any coach will really address those issues. The Lakers most notably flamed out in their pursuit of Aldridge because their presentation reportedly focused much more on marketing opportunities than basketball, which is hardly Byron Scott's fault.
Coaches can help with recruiting players, to be sure, but this isn't college basketball. What will arguably affect the Lakers' free agent pursuits much more than any coach is the continued perception that there is infighting within the franchise, and that the Jim Buss regime is on the way out after this summer. It might be hard to convince players to sign when it appears the man signing them looks like he'll be gone in a year.
Talent and winning could solve a lot of these perception problems, but it may be hard to recruit that talent when their is an issue with how the franchise is viewed by players and agents. A coach that is a good recruiter might help, but one who can get the most out of the roster's young talent and make them appear more attractive as teammates to prospective free agents is probably more important.
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