The Los Angeles Lakers are slowly and methodically moving along in their search for their next head coach, and while there are no new names in the latest report of their interest in Monty Williams, Tyronn Lue and Juwan Howard, it does clarify that they’re making progress, and right when interest in Williams is about to heat up (more on that in a second).
Last week it was reported that Williams and Lue’s second interviews would involve Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, and now we know when Lue’s will be (via Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times):
The Lakers have scheduled a second interview with Tyronn Lue on Wednesday in Los Angeles for their head-coaching vacancy, according to people not authorized to speak publicly on the search.
This time Lue will meet with Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss for the first time and again with general manager Rob Pelinka, according to the same people. Lue and Pelinka had a sit-down Friday in Newport Beach.
Turner additionally reported that the team is “making plans to meet for a second time with Philadelphia assistant coach Monty Williams later this week.” Last week it was reported that if the 76ers aren’t eliminated from the playoffs by the Brooklyn Nets — Philadelphia currently has a 3-1 lead in the series and could wrap it up with a win on Tuesday night — then the Lakers leadership could travel out East to meet with Williams.
And it seems that no matter what happens in Philadelphia’s game tonight, that road meeting will likely happen, because as methodical as the Lakers have been in their coaching search so far, planning a meeting with Williams might be taking on a greater degree of importance because they are no longer the only team heavily interested in the Sixers assistant.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Phoenix Suns fired coach Igor Kokoskov so unexpectedly in part because they have a high-level of interest in Williams as a replacement and didn’t want the Lakers to hire him before they could also talk to him.
The timing on the dismissal of Kokoskov, the first European-born NBA head coach, was partly rooted in a desire to compete against the Los Angeles Lakers in pursuit of Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams, league sources told ESPN.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the Lakers have to rush anything, especially when considering that it’s not exactly clear that Williams is a better candidate than Lue, but it does mean they can’t extend the length of this search indefinitely anymore if they really want Williams. Once both the Lakers and the Suns schedule interviews, the clock will be ticking if the Lakers do decide Williams is who they want to hire, and that’s all without considering that the team probably wants to have a head coach in place before the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery next month.
That potential rush is still potentially a few days off, however, and the Lakers have more immediate candidates to deal with. Juwan Howard isn’t the frontrunner for the job, but Pelinka will meet with his former college teammate and current Miami Heat assistant coach on Tuesday, and if he blows the Lakers out of the water, he could render this whole discussion moot. Given how deliberately the Lakers have moved so far, though, such an outcome seems unlikely, so hang tight for plenty more updates over the next few days.
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