With the NBA season wrapping up for the Los Angeles Lakers, Frank Vogel appears to be entering his final days as head coach. Once the season officially ends, the team will likely be launching a search for their next head coach. They could look at some candidates who are available now but they could also wait until the postseason is over and try to poach a coach from a playoff team.
There have already been popular rumors linking the Lakers to Doc Rivers and Quin Snyder but perhaps they could target a coach nobody is talking about. There’s no reason to believe that Nick Nurse wants to leave the Toronto Raptors. They have a good team and he led them to a championship in 2019. In four seasons with the team, he’s had a losing record once.
However, Nurse hired Andy Miller of Klutch Sports to represent him in 2020. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are two of Klutch’s biggest clients. Perhaps the Lakers could rely on the Klutch connection to land Nurse, who is one of the best coaches in the NBA. One Eastern Conference executive told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that the team could try to see if it’s possible.
“I would expect the Lakers to at least ask about Nick Nurse,” the executive said. “He’s one of the best fairly young coaches in the league and he had the whole blow-up with his agent, Warren [LeGarie] who is one of the most respected guys in the business. But he is screwing Warren over for Klutch, he got the big contract with the Raptors and he is secure there. They’re not going to let him go. But it makes him look better and Klutch look better if they are asking for him, right? So yeah, I would not be surprised to see the Lakers ask about him but more as a favor to Klutch. Maybe they won’t because he is so far out of reach. But, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, that is how things work.”
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Nurse Unlikely to Leave, but Doesn’t Hurt to Try
Nurse has a good thing going in Toronto. The team rarely has high expectations and almost always exceeds them. He’s also among the highest-paid coaching in the NBA at around $8 million a year, per USA Today. Coaching the Lakers is a much tougher gig. The expectation is to compete for a title every year. Meeting those expectations sets you up for life but failing to meet them could derail a promising career.
From the Lakers’ point of view, they should certainly try to see if there’s interest. They would be wise to use the Klutch connection to their advantage. Nurse would almost certainly reject any offers but it’s worth a shot. It’s always possible he’s looking for the next challenge and a return to the United States after a long stint in Canada.
Lakers Could Have Limited Options
On the surface, the Lakers’ head coaching job should be somewhat appealing. It’s an iconic franchise that can attract big-name players. However, the front office is a mess. Not many coaches are going to be thrilled about the idea of Kurt Rambis looking over their shoulder or Magic Johnson taking shots at them in the media.
The Lakers will likely need to rely on somebody with previous connections to the franchise. Snyder used to be an assistant for the team so he would sense. Sames goes for Los Angeles Clippers assistant Brian Shaw. Those aren’t names to get overly excited about but they could help navigate a franchise that doesn’t operate the same as many others due to their familiarity.