Could Kevin Love be making his way to Los Angeles? Laker fans have to wait and see. (Timberwolves.com)
The list of possible head coaches is getting shorter for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team needs to make moves and make them fast.
TNT analyst Steve Kerr recently signed with the Golden State Warriors, while former Warriors head coach Mark Jackson agreed to a multi-year deal to rejoin ESPN’s NBA broadcasting team.
While it is still unclear who the head coach will be, one thing is certain: Kobe Bryant will have no say. Lines of communication may be open, but Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak says Bryant “won’t weigh in on” the team’s coaching hire.
“He really won’t weigh in on something like this. I’m not even sure that we’ll talk to him prior to interviews,” Kupchak told ESPN’s Andy Katz at the NBA draft combine last Thursday in Chicago. “But from time to time, he is in our facility, I’ll go downstairs and I’ll talk to him about a bunch of different things.”
Kupchak didn’t go into details of what “things” he talks about with Bryant, but I speculate they have to deal with adding new talent. Bryant signed a two-year contract extension and needs a squad around him that will allow him to join the six-ring club.
Surely Bryant should have a say in what type of players the team needs. Right now the Lakers only have three players under contract for next year. Bryant is the heart and soul of the Lakers, and although I don’t think he should have an official vote, his opinion should matter and have some sort of influence/weight.
During an appearance last week on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Bryant made it clear he wanted to be in the loop during the coaching search.
“On the last two they didn’t,” said Bryant with a laugh, referring to the Lakers decision to hire Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni, “On the third one, I’m hoping they do.”
If there’s one thing fans are “hoping” for it’s that top talent comes to Los Angeles and brings another championship to the purple and gold franchise. Most rumors seem to be circulating around current Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Love.
“We need some players. We don’t have many players under contract right now,” said Kupchak.
Love would be a valuable asset to the Lakers, but is that a mutual feeling? The L.A. squad is currently under construction after suffering one of the worst seasons in franchise history. Love has dominated this season, and made it clear he wants to take his talents elsewhere by doing early free agency shopping.
During the 2013-2014 season, Love averaged 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds and 0.5 blocks per game. Looking at the numbers, Love seems to be the easy fix for the Lakers, and although Los Angeles has limited number of players on contract, the team looks to re-sign some talent from last year’s squad.
“Fortunately, we did sign a good player back in November: Kobe Bryant. So, we have him to rely on … we have a bunch of free agents and some of the players on our roster last year, some of the younger players, played well,” said Kupchak. “So we’re looking forward to maybe bringing some of those guys back and looking at the free-agent market and then once again, our lottery pick.”
One guy fans hope comes back is Nick ‘SwaggyP’ Young. The #StaySwag campaign has already flooded Twitter feeds and raised thousands of dollars to hopefully put up a #StaySwag billboard. Still, despite fans speaking out, no decisions have been made.
A lot is up in the air, but the pressure is on for the Lakers management to win and win fast.
“I know our fans in Los Angeles are impatient, so it’s not like we’re on a seven- or eight-year rebuild schedule,” said Kupchak. “We’re going to try to win as soon as possible. It may take more than a year, but we’re not going to try to drag it out.”
A sign of good things to come for Laker fans will come on draft day. Once the lottery determines what spot the Lakers will be picking at fans can have a better gage on who the Lakers will select.
For now they have to live with what ifs, maybes and promises that better days are to come.