Approximately 27 years ago, when the Los Angeles Lakers appeared set to hire Tyronn Lue as their head coach (Editor’s Note: It was only last month, somehow), there were persistent rumors that he was trying to get former Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau to be his lead assistant.
That scenario seemed to be out the window as soon as Lue was — and Thibodeau said the Lakers never contacted him about their head coaching job, and by extension, probably not to be an assistant either — but he also seemed to confirm that he wouldn’t have been interested in an assistant position anyway during an appearance on CBS Sports Radio:
“Probably not,” Thibodeau said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I’ve known Ty for a long time. I coached him in Houston, and when he first got into coaching, we were in Boston together so I consider him a really good friend. But I still have some time on my contract. I’ll be patient and just wait for the right opportunity to come along.”
And if it was already pretty much known that Thibodeau didn’t want to be an assistant coach under Lue, it’s even more unlikely he would have wanted to do so under Frank Vogel, who he has much less documented history with. But with that noted, the real question remains: Who are Vogel’s assistants going to be?
Right now the only Lakers assistant coaches that we know of are Jason Kidd — who Vogel already confirmed would be on his staff — and Miles Simon, the latter of whom is the lone remaining holdover from former head coach Luke Walton’s staff. It was originally theorized in this space that Simon might have been kept simply to hold the Lakers’ draft workouts, but him being seen with LeBron James and his family at at least one youth basketball tournament this summer would seem to imply a possibility that he sticks around.
But even with those two slots spoken for, that leaves at least four absences to fill if Vogel plans to equal or exceed the size of Walton’s staff. It sounds like Thibodeau won’t be one of them, and given that an offensive tactician is likely Vogel’s biggest need, that may be for the best. Still, who does eventually fill those slots is going to be one of the central questions facing the Lakers over the next few months, both before the draft and free agency, and likely after as well, at this rate.