Los Angeles Lakers head coach search could be complicated by Thursday’s NBA news

Could Thursday's big NBA news complicate things for the Los Angeles Lakers in their search for a new head coach?

Los Angeles Lakers
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach search has been slow-moving. Ever since firing Darvin Ham earlier in the spring, the Lakers have been linked to multiple candidates. But nothing has come to fruition in this end.

It’s a franchise-altering decision for general manager Rob Pelinka and Co. after a first-round exit in the 2024 NBA Playoffs. Los Angeles needs to hit a home run with this hire if the team wants to both retain LeBron James and be considered championship contenders. Hence, why it’s been a drawn-out process.

Thursday’s NBA news could also change the dynamics big time in Southern California. The Cleveland Cavaliers surprisingly fired head coach J.B. Bickerstaff after he led the team to 99 wins over the past two seasons.

It remains to be seen if Bickerstaff will become a candidate for the Lakers’ opening. But now that one other team is looking to fill the vacancy, the Lakers could face some serious competition.

Related: Los Angeles Lakers head coach candidates to replace Darvin Ham

How the firing of J.B. Bickerstaff could impact Los Angeles Lakers head coach search

J.B. Bickerstaff, Los Angeles Lakers
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Atkinson and James Borrego are considered candidates for the Lakers’ opening. In particular, Atkinson has already been linked to the Cavaliers’ opening. He coached both Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen with the Brooklyn Nets. There is certainly a connection here.

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Sam Cassell is another name to watch in Cleveland. He had previously been seen as one of the top candidates for the Lakers’ opening.

These candidates seem to run in the same group. If one team is interested, it stands to reason that another organization with an opening will also show interest.

Outside of their search for a new head coach, the Lakers have a ton of roster decisions to make this coming summer. King James will opt out of his contract. Whether he hits free ageny or re-signs with the Lakers ahead of the market opening remains to be seen.

Point guard D’Angelo Russel will also be a free agent this summer. He’s less likely to return to the Lakers after a drama-filled 2023-24 season.

All the while, Los Angeles is being linked to some big names in NBA free agency and on the trade block. The first order of business has to be to hire a new head coach. Cleveland’s decision to fire Bickerstaff certainly complicates things.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: