The Los Angeles Lakers’ are back to square one in their search for a new head coach, after their negotiations with Tyronn Lue unexpectedly fell apart, despite the fact that he was long considered LeBron James’ preferred choice and the “frontrunner” for the vacant position.
According to reports, one reason Lue withdrew his name from consideration was because the Lakers wanted to hand select some of the assistants on his staff. According to Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill, the Lakers wanted to force Lue to bring on Kurt Rambis as an assistant, which he wasn’t interested in.
Rambis has allegedly emerged as a “powerful voice” in basketball operations with the Lakers during their hunt for a head coach. Fox Sports 1’s Nick Wright reports that Kurt and Linda Rambis (executive director of special projects) were the only parties opposed to the Lue signing, and if they weren’t involved he’d be the head coach right now.
ESPN also that the Lakers were pushing for Jason Kidd to be included as an assistant coach, because the team reportedly wants Kidd to help mentor Lonzo Ball, who will be entering this third season.
In addition to Lue’s resistance to hiring the Lakers’ preferred assistants, he was also “insulted” that the team only offered him a three-year, $18 million deal. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin, Lue’s camp was seeking a five-year deal with a salary commensurate with a championship résumé. The former Lakers guard was reportedly “insulted” by the Lakers’ offer.
The Lakers will now begin the interview process with other candidates such as former Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel, while their disgruntled fanbase stages a protest outside of Staples Center.