Boasting a bevy of All-Star talent, it’s easy to believe that the Los Angeles Lakers coaching job is something most coaches dream of.
However, according to a recent report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it would seem that not every coach is enthralled by the prospect of rebuilding the Lakers, as it has been revealed that Michigan head coach Juwan Howard recently turned down an opportunity to interview with the franchise.
Given the current issues the Lakers find themselves dealing with, along with boasting a string of aging stars who don’t fit well together on the court, it makes sense that a highly-rated college coach wouldn’t want to risk their reputation by making this their first role in the NBA.
After all, once a coach is hired, their first task will be to make a decision on the future of Russell Westbrook, which given his current contract and poor performances throughout the season, isn’t going to be an easy decision to make – yet it could be a defining one, especially in the short-term.
Howard Has History With LeBron, Pelinka
When you think of Juwan Howard’s links to the Lakers, you quickly remember his playing days and how he shared the court with LeBron James during their time together in Miami. As such, it’s fair to assume the Lakers superstar was privy to the team’s interest in his former teammate, although it’s unlikely he expected Howard to reject their advances.
Still, a lesser-known fact that Wojnarowski also reported is that Howard also has close ties with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, as their pair played together during their college days at Michigan.
Howard does have some coaching experience at the NBA level, having been an assistant on the Miami Heat for six years before accepting the Michigan head coaching position. Still, Lakers fans shouldn’t feel too insulted by Howard’s rejection, as ESPN reports the two-time NBA champion also rejected an opportunity to interview with the Boston Celtics last summer.
“Boston Celtics president Brad Stevens was interested in Howard for his coaching opening a year ago, but Howard declined that overture too, sources said. The Celtics hired Brooklyn Nets assistant Ime Udoka,” Wojnarowski wrote in a recent article.
LeBron Has Coaching Preference
Despite LeBron originally being rumored to favor former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson as the team’s next coaching hire, it seems that he’s on board with the current three-man shortlisted the Lakers are reported to have pieced together and has reportedly shared his support for Darvin Ham to get the job.
“He’s the guy LeBron wants,” Eric Pincus recently wrote for Bleacher Report.
Ham is the only remaining candidate to lack head coaching experience in the NBA but is highly regarded around the league due to his work with the Milwaukee Bucks and how he’s helped develop Giannis Antetokounmpo during their time working together.
Still, the Lakers are unlikely to place too much stock into who LeBron wants coaching the team, as the superstar is entering the last year of his deal, and any new coach will be in Tinseltown for the long-haul (assuming things work out).
Luckily, with the post-season edging closer to its inevitable conclusion, we will likely see the Lakers make a decision in the near future, so the new coaching hire can begin working alongside the front office to rebuild the roster and help the Lakers regain their place atop of the Western Conference.