The Los Angeles Lakers are keeping one assistant coach — at least for now — and losing out on another, as Scott Brooks is reportedly getting close to a deal to become the lead assistant for the Portland Trail Blazers under Chauncey Billups, beating out Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins, who also interviewed for the job.
Hollins, Brooks and Vinny Del Negro were all reportedly considered for the lead assistant job under Billups, but Brooks — who the Lakers interviewed for a role on their own staff last week — has won out, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Former Wizards coach Scott Brooks is finalizing a deal with Portland to become Chauncey Billups’ top assistant coach, sources tell ESPN. That’s a significant addition for Billups as he builds his new staff.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 9, 2021
Reading between the lines here, the Lakers may still end up with an opening on their own staff. It always seemed strange that Los Angeles would be interviewing Brooks, given that they have no openings on their bench that have been made public. But given that Hollins was apparently interested in a close-to-lateral move to join the Blazers, it would not be a surprise at this point to see him eventually head elsewhere after two years with the Lakers.
Hollins may not be the “lead assistant” with the Lakers, as they have not officially bestowed that title under Vogel. But the unique way Vogel uses his three bench assistant coaches, allowing each of them to do a bit of everything because he breaks down his own tape after games — a rarity among head coaches — is pretty close to making all of them pseudo co-lead assistants. Hollins, Jason Kidd and Phil Handy served in those roles last season, and with David Fizdale replacing the outgoing Kidd, the Lakers still continuing to interview other assistants like Brooks, and Hollins interviewing for other assistant jobs, it’s not hard to put two and two together and guess that Hollins may be out, Blazers or no Blazers.
But with Brooks now off the table and the Blazers lead assistant job taken, it remains to be seen where Hollins will go if he does depart Los Angeles, and who the Lakers would consider to replace him should he leave. Those musical chairs on Frank Vogel’s bench — and who is sitting in them when the proverbial music stops — will be just one more thing to watch as the Lakers’ long offseason continues.