The candidates for the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching opening are starting to narrow. If reports are to be believed that Kenny Atkinson, Darvin Ham and Terry Stotts are the finalists for the job, the team would be hiring a coach who wasn’t linked to the team early in the process. One of the first coaches to get linked to the job after Frank Vogel was fired was Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.
He is entrenched with his current team and won a championship back in 2019 but the fact that he is a Klutch Sports client certainly raised some eyebrows. Klutch Sports represents the two biggest Lakers stars in Anthony Davis and LeBron James. He’s also one of the best coaches in the NBA and could’ve been the guy to fix the mess in Los Angeles.
However, the notion of him leaving Toronto quickly got shot down. Nurse has previously addressed the Lakers rumors but he’s gotten the chance to address them more directly in an interview
“I think it’s always nice that people are thinking you can do those jobs,” Nurse told Cowherd. “I saw the stuff about the Lakers … people think that you can go there and make a difference. This is a special place. Toronto is amazing, our fans are amazing… I love working here. I don’t see me going anywhere.”
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Nurse Door Is Closed
Even before Nurse did the interview with Cowherd, it was apparent he wasn’t going to leave Toronto. The Lakers would likely hire him in a heartbeat but he’s under contract and the Raptors wouldn’t just let another team swoop in and steal him. Plus, he’s happy with his current team and there’s a lot less pressure being the coach of the Raptors than being the coach of the Lakers.
Los Angeles hasn’t even requested an interview and has been closing in on other candidates so the door is closed on Nurse possibly joining the team barring a massive plot twist.
Lakers Targeting Another Current Head Coach?
Nurse was never a realistic possibility but there’s another current head coach who has been linked to the Lakers for weeks. Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers just wrapped up another disappointing season. The team says they’re going to keep him but not everybody is buying that. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Lakers are still hopeful that Rivers could get let go.
“Suspicions persist in league coaching circles that the Lakers have not completely abandoned hope that Philadelphia’s Doc Rivers becomes unexpectedly available — despite the recent insistence from Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey that Rivers will be back in Philly next season,” Stein wrote.
Rivers appears to be the Lakers’ top choice for the head coaching job but it remains to be seen if the 76ers actually let him go. The interest in Rivers is odd considering he failed with the Los Angeles Clippers and has failed with Philadelphia thus far.