While it looks like Luke Walton is at the top of the Lakers’ coaching wish list, with Ettore Messina coming in a close second, the purple and gold are doing their due diligence by compiling a long list of candidates.
According to Michael Lee and Adrian Wojnarowski from The Vertical, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is “working off a list of 10 preliminary candidates.”
Kupchak has already been granted permission to interview Walton and Messina, though it appears he will interview at least one other candidate – maybe more.
Marc Stein from ESPN says the Lakers “plan to interview” David Blatt, the former head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This makes sense seeing as Blatt was originally hired to lead a young Cavs team featuring the likes of Andrew Wiggins.
Instead Blatt was faced with the return of LeBron James and a veteran-laden roster that had championship aspirations.
Still, despite the increased expectations, Blatt took the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in his first year on the job, going 53-29 in the regular season. The 56-year-old then compiled a record of 30-11 before he was fired earlier this year.
Though he’s coached only 1.5 NBA seasons, Blatt has over 20 years of quality coaching experience to his name thanks to many successful years overseas.
The Lakers also have “strong interest” in University of Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie, per Stein, though the ex NBA-er reportedly wants input with personnel decisions. If this is the case, L.A. will likely pass on Ollie.
Stein also mentions that coach-turned-broadcaster Doug Collins is also on the Lakers’ radar, though it would be surprising to see him land the job.