Everyone would love a shot to coach LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. In theory, anyway.
But from the sounds of things, you can count out Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse. While Nurse is under contract, that hasn’t kept those who like to speculate on such things from throwing his name in the hat as a candidate in LA.
Whether the Lakers actually have an interest … well, we don’t know. But Nurse shot down such talk when it comes to his own possible candicay.
“I don’t know where that stuff comes from and I’m focused on coaching (the Raptors),” he told reporters, via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.
Nurse and the Raptors just completed their season, falling to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Along with Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz, Nurse is one of two coaches currently under contract currently linked to the Lakers gig.
In other words, Nurse and Snyder would either have to be fired (unlikely) or the Lakers would owe draft picks to the Raptors or Jazz. Yeah, the Lakers don’t really have any available draft picks. Anyway, by all accounts, Nurse is a long shot to actually leave Toronto. That includes his own account.
Granted, again, there is something about the sizzle of LA that tends to draw in coaches. But these aren’t your father’s Lakers. In fact, many of them are old enough to be your father.
James is still fantastic, but Anthony Davis is still wildly injury-prone and Russell Westbrook is still nothing resembling a fit. Plus, the Raptors are basically a team on the rise, seemingly set up for the future. The Lakers are a better-win-quickly team based on their overall age. They entered the season as the oldest team in NBA history and failed to make even the play-in tournament.
Meanwhile, Nurse won a title in Toronto (2019), making the playoffs this year. So it only makes sense that he is attaching himself to the Raptors.
Others mentioned as possibilities with the Lakers recently: Warriors assistant Mike Brown (link), ESPN analyst Mark Jackson (link), former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts (link), Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Jazz assistant Alex Jensen (link) and former Wizards and Thunder coach Scott Brooks (link).
The Lakers have already requested an interview with Ham, as relayed by Hoops Wire. Brown, of course, coached the Lakers previously.
Follow Sam Amico @AmicoHoops