By Donte Medder |Staff Writer|
After leading the Los Angeles Lakers to their worst season since 1960, Coach Mike D’antoni resigned.
The Lakers struggled losing 55 of the 82 games in the 2014 season.
Injuries to star players such as Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and many key players missing time such as Nick Young and Jordan Farmar contributed to the losing season. Many felt that D’antoni was never the man for the job.
“I am so happy D’antoni left; there was no defense and no leadership,” said junior at CSUSB Taylor Statham. “We need someone like Mark Jackson,” Statham continued.
The search for D’antoni’s replacement began immediately according to Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak.
Finding a qualified replacement will not be difficult for the Lakers.
The bright lights of Los Angeles are attracting the attention of many coaches. Finding the right fit as a coach is what’s most important.
The new coach will be called upon to navigate through this rebuilding period, as well as appease the aging Kobe, hungry for championships in the final years of his career.
The Lakers new coach must also recapture the city of Los Angeles as the traditional bottom-dwelling Clippers have risen and seized the city as the Lakers watch from the sidelines.
The question remains whether they will stay in-house and hire someone from the Lakers coaching branch or if they will follow their east coast rival, the Boston Celtics and look to the college ranks for their new coach.
Three of the people rumored to be on the Laker’s coaching list are from the college ranks, two of whom made it to the National Championship.
John Calipari from the University of Kentucky, who is known for embracing the spotlight and Kevin Ollie, the head coach of the University of Connecticut, who has 13 years of NBA experience as a player.
University of North Carolina’s Roy Williams name has also been thrown around in conversations for the job.
All three have currently said that they would like to stay in the college ranks.
Former Laker star Byron Scott is one of the coaches with NBA experience interested in the job.
His time with the “Showtime” Lakers during the 80s, as well as his NBA finals appearance with the former New Jersey Nets as a Coach could make him an attractive hire.
However, during his stint in Cleveland, he was at the head during an unforgivable 26 game losing streak which questions his ability to make the adjustments needed during a season to be an NBA coach.
George Karl has also been rumored to be interested in the job.
His success throughout many stops in the NBA, as well as his and Kupchak’s shared alma mater at the University of North Carolina, could sway Kupchak into giving Karl a shot.
Former Lakers Brian Shaw and Derek Fisher have also been rumored to be possible replacements for D’antoni.
Both Shaw and Fisher played with Bryant during their time with the Lakers. Shaw is now the head coach of the Denver Nuggets.
Although Fisher has expressed in the past that he would rather go into business following his playing career, a shot at bringing the Lakers back to their dominating ways could be an opportunity he cannot pass up.
The team has expressed that they are in no rush to find a coach, and with so many qualified people looking for the opportunity, it may not be long before the LA Lakers are back chasing championships, but in the mean time the Lakers will try their best to please their fans.