The Los Angeles Lakers started talking to candidates for their vacant head coaching position earlier this week, starting with an interview with Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams on Wednesday and most recently former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue on Friday. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, a second interview with Williams is already being discussed.
However, while Williams and Lue are the clear frontrunners, followed by Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard — who they have yet to speak with — they’re apparently not the only coaches the Lakers are considering for the job.
During an appearance on ESPNLA 710’s “Mason & Ireland,” Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported that she expects the team to interview more candidates somewhere down the line:
“I would say (Lue) and Monty are (the favorites). But the thing I heard today was that they’re probably going to talk even more people beyond this first three. It doesn’t seem like they’re in any kind of hurry.”
The fact that the Lakers are going to do their due diligence before making a decision is a change of pace for them, and an encouraging one at that. The question is, though: Who else is out there for the team to consider?
The name that immediately stands out is San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina. Fruits from the Gregg Popovich coaching tree are some of the most coveted assets in the NBA and the Lakers received permission to speak to Messina in 2016. Could they peak his interest again this summer? Given that Messina appears to have a clear shot to replace Gregg Popovich within the next few years, that’s not totally clear, and it’s also unknown if the Lakers would even want to bring back their former assistant coach.
Lakers assistant Miles Simon is another interesting, albeit very unlikely, candidate for the job. Simon was the only member of Luke Walton’s coaching staff not let go after the Lakers and Walton mutually agreed to part ways earlier this month, so they probably at least like him a little. But enough to make him head coach? That would seem unlikely, although Simon has worked closely with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart since the trio entered the league in 2017, so at the very least, he’d likely have their endorsement.
Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to who they could be interested in. Luckily, it sounds like we could be find out within the coming weeks, especially as more and more teams are eliminated from playoff contention.