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A look at who might be the next Lakers coach

Names being mentioned include Brian Shaw, Rick Adelman, Byron Scott, Doc Rivers and others.

May 09, 2011|By Broderick Turner
  • Among the candidates to replace Phil Jackson as coach could be (from left) former Laker and current Cavaliers Coach Byron Scott, former Rockets Coach Rick Adelman and Lakers assistant Brian Shaw.
Among the candidates to replace Phil Jackson as coach could be (from left)… (Photos from US Presswire…)

The Lakers have to fill a very big void now that Coach Phil Jackson is walking away into retirement — again.

The decision on the new Lakers coach will be made by owner Jerry Buss, his son Jim Buss, the team's executive vice president of player personnel, and General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

The Lakers can only hope this hire turns out better than the last time they replaced Jackson. The Lakers hired Rudy Tomjanovich as coach, but he lasted only 41 games into the 2004-05 season before leaving because of health problems.

Who will succeed Jackson is a hot topic around the NBA. But after talking to many general managers, scouts, coaches and players, there seems to be no clear-cut favorite for the job.

So, in keeping with the guessing game, here's a snapshot of some likely candidates to become the next Lakers coach:

•Brian Shaw

The Lakers assistant coach probably will get an interview for the job.

Shaw played on three NBA championship teams with the Lakers and he has been an assistant coach under Jackson for six seasons. He was a key part of the most recent back-to-back championships.

He is well-liked by the players and inside the organization. Shaw has a cool demeanor and has shown he has a good acumen for the game. He also has been endorsed by Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. Making Shaw the head man would allow the Lakers to keep their triangle offense, which has been successful.

On the flip side, Shaw doesn't have any head-coaching experience, something many in the NBA think is a preference of the Buss family.

•Rick Adelman

Adelman was just fired by the Houston Rockets.

Adelman, who will be 65 in June, has loads of experience. He's also been the coach with the Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings.

He runs an offensive system called "corner," similar to the triangle, with more spontaneous pick-and-roll plays.

Adelman took the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals twice, losing in 1990 to the Detroit Pistons and 1992 to Jackson's Chicago Bulls.

Adelman is considered particularly good at working with big men and commands the respect of his players. Also, he has coached Ron Artest twice, in Sacramento and Houston.

•Byron Scott

Even though Scott is coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, some in the NBA list him as a candidate.

Scott is part of the Lakers' family, having been a guard on three NBA championships with the team during the Showtime era of the 1980s.

He's been an NBA head coach for 11 seasons, starting in New Jersey, where he took the Nets to consecutive NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. Scott was also NBA coach of the year for the 2007-08 season with the New Orleans Hornets.

It is not known whether Scott can get out of his contract with the Cavaliers. Even if he could, the Lakers probably would have to give the Cavaliers compensation in the form of a draft pick, or draft picks, and cash.

•Doc Rivers

Another intriguing name tossed out is Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers, who is in the last year of his deal.

He won an NBA title in 2008, leading the Celtics over the Lakers. Rivers is a tough-minded coach who demands respect.

But he's suggested he wants to take next season off to watch his son Austin play at Duke.

•Kurt Rambis

Rambis' name has come up, even though he has two years left on his deal as coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Rambis was a fan favorite as a forward when he helped the Lakers win four championships during the 1980s. He also has been on Jackson's staff, winning championships in 2002 and 2009.

On the negative side, Minnesota won only 32 games in the last two seasons.

•Jeff Van Gundy

He was coach of the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets. Van Gundy is an NBA analyst on ABC, but many believe he wants to coach again, and that he wouldn't turn down a shot at the Lakers.

•Larry Brown

Brown, 70, has coached nine NBA teams, so his name always comes up. But he quit, resigned or was fired from his last job with the Charlotte Bobcats.

He has also won an NBA championship, leading the Detroit Pistons past the Lakers in 2004.

•Mike Krzyzewski

Krzyzewski's name has come up in the past, including in 2004 when Jackson left. But the longtime Duke coach said during this spring's NCAA tournament that he wasn't interested in the Lakers job.

•Jerry Sloan

Sloan, 68, stepped down as coach of the Utah Jazz in February, and some think he could be a candidate.

But Sloan seems content in retirement.

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