Next Lakers Coach Could Be Son of NBA Legend: Report

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka

Getty General Manager Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers

The next Lakers head coach could be the son of an NBA legend. According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, Nuggets lead assistant David Adelman, the son of Hall of Famer Rick Adelman, is among the candidates to succeed Darvin Ham.

Buha’s report on May 10 noted that Adelman and Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori are among the “top choices” for the Lakers if they hire an active assistant coach instead of going with other rumored candidates such as Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson, JJ Redick, Terry Stotts or Tyronn Lue. Buha added that the Lakers’ coaching search could be influenced by “a lot of moving parts” as some of their targets are still tied up with their respective teams. Furthermore, Lue, with one year left on his contract with the Clippers, has expressed interest in remaining with the Lakers’ crosstown rivals.

If the Lakers choose to go with Adelman, it would be a bold decision, but not a surprising hire. The 42-year-old Oregon native has gained a lot of praise around NBA circles for his job as the lead assistant of Nuggets coach Michael Malone. Both before and after the Nuggets won the 2023 NBA Championship, the star duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray spoke glowingly of Adelman’s impact on the team.

“I really think that DA’s a guy who’s gonna be next head coach because he has that, I’m gonna say ‘head’ for a head coach. He knows the answers. He reads, reacts,” Jokic said of Adelman on January 18, 2023, via The Denver Post.

Murray jokingly made it a point to ensure Adelman remained in Denver after he and his teammates won their first championship.

Lakers Coaching Search Underway

While Adelman would be a worthy candidate for the Lakers job, the Rob Pelinka-led front office is reportedly in no hurry to finalize Ham’s successor. According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers are expected to interview candidates starting Monday, May 13.

“Many of the league’s decision-makers are still descending upon Chicago, where the NBA Draft combine will continue throughout the week,” Fischer reported on May 12. “There will be countless clandestine meetings between the NBA’s power brokers, leaving plenty of trade chatter and early free agency talk to buzz about the stands at Wintrust Arena. The Lakers have left coaching industry figures under the impression Los Angeles plans to conduct interviews for the franchise’s head coach this week as well. The league’s silly season is well underway.”

Next Lakers Coach: Atkinson Emerges Favorite

As of May 13, Warriors’ Atkinson (1-1) was the betting odds-on favorite to succeed Ham as the next Lakers coach, replacing previous favorite Mike Budenholzer. The change occurred in the aftermath of  Budenholzer being announced as the new coach of the Phoenix Suns on May 11.

Atkinson was closely followed by ESPN analyst Redick (2-1), Lue (9/2 ), Adelman (9/1), Chris Quinn (12/1) and former Lakers assistant Phil Handy (20/1).

The rise of Atkinson to the top spot could be attributed to a lot of the Lakers’ initial candidates finalizing other jobs. Besides the aforementioned Budenholzer, Jason Kidd signed a contract with the Mavericks on May 6, rendering him unavailable, and even Celtics assistant Charles Lee finalized a job with the Hornets.

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