Earlier this month, Kobe Bryant appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and expressed his desire to be consulted on the Lakers’ coaching search, which Mamba says did not happen when the team hired Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni. Yesterday, general manager Mitch Kupchak made it clear the hiring of a new coach will be his decision.
Via Bill Oram at the Orange County Register, Kupchak plans to talk to Kobe but will not be consulting him about candidates:
“From time to time we ask his advice,” Kupchak said. “He really won’t weigh in on something like this. I’m not even sure that we’ll talk to him prior to interviews. He is in our facility and from time to time I’ll go down and talk to him about a bunch of different things.”
LA’s situation is a lot different than what happened a decade ago. If you remember, the Lakers went after Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski to replace Phil Jackson, mainly to appease Kobe, who personally lobbied for Coach K
. At the time, Kobe was just entering his prime and after the departure of Phil Jackson and Shaquille O’Neal, the Lakers needed to cater to their superstar.
That’s not the case now. Even though the team signed Kobe to a two-year extension earlier this year, Kupchak will need to find a coach that can lead the team even after Kobe retires. So far, potential names the Lakers are interested include Kevin Ollie and John Calipari, which shows that the team is considering the big picture.
There’s no simple way for the Lakers to fast track their re-tooling process and return to contender status. In the best interest of the organization’s long-term future, Kupchak should make the coaching hire he feels makes the most sense, and not the one Kobe prefers to have for the last few two years of his career.
Who do you think the Lakers should hire?
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