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Lakers contact Rick Adelman as coaching search gains momentum, slowly

Seeking a replacement for Phil Jackson, Lakers officially express interest in Adelman, 65, who has won 945 games in 20 seasons with four NBA teams. Mike Dunleavy, Brian Shaw are also candidates.

May 20, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner
  • Former Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman is among the candidates for the Lakers' vacant coaching job.
Former Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman is among the candidates for the… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

The Lakers are slowly reaching out to coaching candidates, contacting Rick Adelman to officially express an interest in him to replace Phil Jackson.

The three decision-makers for the Lakers' coaching search — owner Jerry Buss and executives Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak — continued the gradual momentum from their meeting Tuesday in which they drew up an official list.

Former Lakers coach Mike Dunleavy and current Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw are also candidates. Former Cleveland coach Mike Brown is considered the front-runner for the Golden State coaching job, though the Lakers are somewhat interested in him too.

The Lakers aren't in a huge rush. Interviews with candidates could begin next week, though they might not happen until the first week of June.

The Lakers are adamantly opposed to offering other teams compensation via draft picks or cash to lure their coaches away, effectively ending any chance of hiring Portland's Nate McMillan, Cleveland's Byron Scott or Minnesota's Kurt Rambis, The Times has learned.

Photos: Phil Jackson through the years

Shaw and fellow Lakers assistant Chuck Person interviewed earlier this week with Golden State. Of the two, Shaw is considered the stronger prospect for the Lakers job, though the Lakers are leaning toward hiring a candidate with previous NBA head-coaching experience.

Adelman compiled a 945-616 record in 20 NBA seasons as a coach with Portland (1988-94), Golden State (1995-97), Sacramento (1998-2006) and Houston (2007-11). Adelman and the Rockets mutually parted ways after Houston went 43-39 this season, missing out on a playoff spot by three games despite Yao Ming's missing all but five games.

Adelman, who turns 65 on June 16, is one of only five coaches in NBA history to win 60 or more games in a season with two different teams. He coached in the NBA Finals with Portland in 1990 and 1992.

Dunleavy, 57, coached the Lakers for two seasons in the early 1990s, including their trip to the Finals in 1991. He was the Clippers' coach for almost seven seasons before he stepped down as coach in February 2010 and was fired as general manager the next month.

Brown, 41, was selected the NBA coach of the year in 2009 after guiding Cleveland to a 66-16 record. A year later, however, he was fired after the Cavaliers failed to get past Boston in the 2010 Eastern Conference semifinals.

Scott was hired to take Brown's place in Cleveland last July.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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