Reports: LeBron likes Mark Jackson for Lakers’ coach, Jazz’s Snyder losing interest
The Los Angeles Lakers are out of the postseason, yet the drama and rumors never stop around this franchise.
The Lakers fired Frank Vogel as coach in an expected move, and the rumor mill is churning with potential replacements.
LeBron James — whose voice obviously carries weight with the franchise, see the Russell Westbrook trade — is interested in former Warriors coach turned broadcaster Mark Jackson, reports Sam Amick at The Athletic (in a fantastic story about how LeBron is reading the room with the Lakers).
LeBron wanted Tyronn Lue as the Lakers coach, the Lakers low-balled him, so he went down the hall at then Staples Center (and did a job that could earn him a few Coach of the Year votes this season). LeBron also liked Jason Kidd, the Lakers made him Vogel’s assistant (until Kidd left for Dallas, where he led them to the No. 4 seed this season). Who LeBron wants will not decide the next Lakers’ coach.
Jackson wants back on the bench in the NBA, and Kevin Durant reportedly pushed for him to get the Nets’ job (which ultimately went to Steve Nash). Jackson coached the Warriors for three seasons, earning 51 wins in his final season with a top-five defense (Steve Nash credited Jackson for teaching the team to defend). Jackson was let go in Golden State for a variety of reasons that made other front offices pause before hiring him: An exclusionary “us vs. them” mentality where “them” included Warriors ownership, the GM and front office, business operations, and others (at least from the perspective of ownership); Jackson feuded publicly with assistant coaches he hired (and pushed back on efforts to hire other assistants); he ran an outdated offensive system that relied heavily on isolation.
Jackson deserves to get another coaching job somewhere. Whether that will be with the Lakers — and whether he even wants the Los Angeles job — remains to be seen.
Another name that came up early in the Lakers’ search is Quin Snyder, the coach about to lead the Utah Jazz into what is a critical offseason for that franchise.
Snyder has at least one year left on his Utah deal — meaning the Lakers would have to trade for him unless he is fired after this playoff run — but after watching how things unfolded with Vogel, Snyder lost some interest in the job, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. There was a sense around both Lakers’ observers and the league that Vogel was nothing but professional while the Lakers hung him out to dry from the start of the season (both with an ill-fitting roster and a one-year contract extension).
It is likely Utah either extends or moves on from Snyder at the end of this season, and if he is let go maybe he will consider the Lakers. But like all coaches with leverage, Snyder is not going to take the low-ball Vogel deal, the Lakers will have to pay the going rate — a five-year contract, $7 million a season minimum — for a top-flight coach. And that coach will want both autonomy — no Kurt Rambis sitting in on coaching meetings — and a voice in player/personnel moves, things Vogel did not have.
Jackson is a legitimate name to watch, but expect a lengthy coaching search from the Lakers, who need to get this offseason right.