Last we heard, Rob Pelinka was conducting interviews for the Los Angeles Lakers prospective head coaching search. He was granted permission to meet with Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams and Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard, and obviously didn’t it need it for free agent coach Tyronn Lue.
Williams and Lue appear to be frontrunners for their own reasons but in each case, the Lakers might be running into a fairly embarrassing problem: People close to both former head coaches are being advised to stay away from this organization given how chaotic things appear to be. So there’s that.
During an appearance Wednesday afternoon on ESPN 710 with Mason & Ireland, Ramona Shelburne said the following about Williams (emphasis mine):
“I think Monty’s the favorite, but I don’t know how that interview went last night. I haven’t heard from either side and it also is a choice for him. He’s probably in line if Philly opens up. If they lose or if they fall short, he’d be in line to step in there. His kids are settled there, he’s done a lot of moving around, so I could see him stay there. And also, everyone in the league has told him not to take the job.”
Tuesday evening, Jorge Sedano of ESPN said Lue has been given similar advice from those close to him:
“So I told you earlier, and I mentioned this yesterday, that someone I know that is a mutual friend with Ty Lue, that is a very close friend to Ty Lue, told me, ‘I told Ty, don’t take the Lakers job. This thing is a mess.’”
Honestly, Honestly, it’s hard to contextualize this at all in a way that doesn’t look outright bad for the Lakers. I could technically say that you never want to go into an interview appearing desperate and, as such, might want some of this stuff out there, but this really doesn’t speak well to the current state of the Lakers organization.
The fact of the matter here is either the Lakers really don’t have a good reputation around the league or they’re truly terrible at managing the narrative surrounding them.
We’ve seen shot after shot at everyone involved in this “mess.” Rob Pelinka has taken hits. Jeanie Buss has been criticized in ways she hasn’t been before. Magic Johnson, maybe the most celebrated Laker of all time, stepped away rather than face any more of this noise (though there obviously might be more to this story to come).
No matter what direction the Lakers go next, they’ll have to repair either their reputation or their ability to manage it.
All this could be made moot as soon as either Lue or Williams takes the job and, as Sedano pointed out, Lue is going to make his own decision. Williams will, too. In a vacuum, the Lakers gig is still intriguing and it’s only one of 30 NBA head coaching jobs in the world.
The problem is, coaching the Lakers was once seen as the head coaching job. Running the Lakers was seen as the top job in the NBA if not American professional sports. But given how things are currently being run, people are distancing themselves so long as the Lakers refuse to get out of their own way. Here’s hoping that changes, and quickly.