Ex-Player Ponders Lakers Trade for Legendary Coach Despite Hatred of Team

rob pelinka

Getty Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka.

The Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of things to figure out this offseason but finding the next head coach might be the most important. Frank Vogel was a scapegoat for the team after a disastrous season but that doesn’t mean they can’t find a better option. It’s going to take a lot to convince any notable head coach to take over the team considering how poorly the roster is constructed and how they treated Vogel on the way out.

Gregg Popovich has spent over two decades as one of the most successful coaches in the NBA. He’s spent the entire time with the San Antonio Spurs. He’s won five championships with the team but they’re starting to fall on hard times. They’ve missed the playoffs for three straight seasons and haven’t won a playoff series in five. Popovich is 73-years-old now and retirement has to be entering his mind. However, there’s no clear path to Spurs being contenders anytime soon.

Perhaps he could consider making one last run with a different team after 26 seasons in San Antonio. Former player Kendrick Perkins took to Twitter to question how much the Lakers would be willing to trade to land Popovich.

Coach trades happen rarely and can’t involve players. The Lakers could only really offer the Spurs a first-round pick or two. San Antonio would likely be willing to do it considering Popovich could retire in the near future, regardless.

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Perkins Has Said That Popovich Could Fix Lakers’ Mess

Popovich is the oldest coach in the NBA and hasn’t been to the playoffs in three seasons. He’s unquestionably one of the greatest basketball coaches ever but he should be nearing the end of his career. While some might rather see the Lakers go for a younger coach, Perkins believes that Popovich has the ability to fix the mess that is the team’s roster.

“When you talk about all the coaches that could possibly be available, that you possibly can get for this job, the only coach that comes to mind to come coach this team, if you’re bringing back Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and LeBron James is Gregg Popovich,” Perkins said. “That’s the only coach that could go in there and get this team under control.”

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Popovich Is Known to Hate the Lakers

It’s certainly fun to envision Popovich coaching LeBron James on the Lakers. However, the likelihood of it happening is next to zero. Popovich’s disdain for the Lakers is not exactly a secret. In fact, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst just reported that had the team tried to do a sign-and-trade for DeMar DeRozan last offseason, the coach was planning to make it difficult for the team.

“I do think, from what I am told, San Antonio was interested in making a deal,” Windhorst said on his podcast. “But what they wanted and what the Lakers may have wanted may not have — it never got to that point. As you know, Pop doesn’t like the Lakers. I don’t think he was going to make it easy.”

The Lakers and Spurs had dozens of epic battles during Popovich’s tenure but those happened a long time ago. It’s possible that he’s softened his stance against Los Angeles but that’s unlikely. He’s not about to end his career with a team that he’s spent almost 30 years hating.

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