Lakers Coaching Candidates: A Closer Look at Potential Picks

In the high-stakes world of NBA coaching, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves at another crossroads. Following Darvin Ham’s surprising exit, the spotlight intensifies on Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office to make a pivotal decision.

Amid swirling expectations and a legacy of excellence to uphold, the quest for a seasoned leader who can harmonize with the likes of LeBron James and rejuvenate the Lakers’ championship aspirations is underway.

Here’s a glance at nine contenders poised to take the helm of this storied franchise:

Ty Lue

Ty Lue, currently steering the ship for the Clippers, has the kind of resume the Lakers desperately need. Winning, especially with star players? Check. Is LeBron James singing your praises? Double check. Despite the Clippers likely hoping to keep him out of Lakers’ reach, the buzz is undeniable.

Lue’s contract specifics with the Clippers are hush-hush, but if there’s a way for the Lakers to snag him, they’d be wise to make a move. Remember, Lue’s no stranger to title chases or managing high-profile teams; he coached LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title in 2016. If the stars align, Lue pairing up again with LeBron could be magic waiting to happen.

Mike Budenholzer

In the NBA coaching world, Mike Budenholzer stands out for crafting teams that hit the mark consistently. Known for a strategy that emphasizes three-pointers, staunch defense, and minimal fouling, his approach has proven successful.

Under his guidance, the Bucks and a notably starless Hawks team have soared, with over 60% game wins and a 2021 championship under his belt. Budenholzer’s name is on every team’s list this offseason, but his connection to Darvin Ham could raise eyebrows for the Lakers.

Yet, in a market short on proven champions, Budenholzer shines as a top pick for win-now teams, making him a prime candidate for the Lakers’ bench boss role. The Lakers basketball team odds will be better with Budenholzer at the helm.

Juwan Howard

Don’t let Juwan Howard‘s Michigan stint fool you. Sure, college hoops had ups and downs, but remember, Quin Snyder bounced back from Missouri to excel in the NBA.

With a solid six years under Erik Spoelstra at the Miami Heat, Howard knows the drill. He was the Lakers’ top pick in 2022, per Marc Stein, even after turning them down before.

Now, back as an assistant in Brooklyn, he’s still in the mix, bridging LeBron and Pelinka’s worlds. Can he be the compromise the Lakers need? Watch this space.

Phil Handy

If locker room rumor mills hold any water, Phil Handy is the dark horse of Lakers coaching candidates. Despite not being among the top choices to replace Vogel in 2022, Handy’s name popped up in the grapevine as a possible successor during Ham’s tenure, per Shams Charania.

Known for his unparalleled player development skills since joining the Lakers in 2019, Handy has openly expressed his ambition to lead a team. His deep connection with the players might just tip the scales for an interview this time around.

Could Handy’s moment in the spotlight as a head coach be on the horizon? Only time will tell.

David Adelman

David Adelman, the Nuggets’ top assistant, could be the Lakers’ secret weapon. With a sharp mind for offense, honed under Denver’s hoops, Adelman brings a playbook that’s troubled L.A. before.

His pedigree is impressive—he’s the son of Rick Adelman, an offensive legend. Though new to the head-coach role, his knack for strategy and a winning track record against top teams like the Nuggets could make him an asset the Lakers can’t pass up.

JJ Redick

JJ Redick, the beloved broadcaster and podcast host of “Mind The Game” with LeBron, is stepping into the coaching spotlight. With zero formal coaching experience but a keen analytical mind for basketball X’s and O’s, Redick’s unconventional path is turning heads.

The Raptors, Celtics, and Hornets have all seen potential in him. However, he is a long shot for the Lakers; his deep understanding of the game and LeBron’s nod might just make him the dark horse candidate worth watching.

Terry Stotts

Heads up, Lakers fans. Are you hearing Terry Stotts’s name again? Yep, he was close last time but didn’t clinch the coach spot. After a quiet spell post-Milwaukee, you might wonder, “What’s up?” But hey, we all got over the brief Griffin stint, right? Stotts, with a playbook as rich as Vogel’s pre-Champions 2020, minus the Finals glory, boasts serious cred. From Atlanta to Portland, his offensive genius has shone. Could this be a Vogel-like pivot for LA? Only time will tell.

Kenny Atkinson

Kenny Atkinson’s coaching style, heavy on pick-and-roll and smart shot selection, might be just what the Lakers need after Ham’s tenure. His knack for player development, turning D’Angelo Russell into an All-Star, is intriguing.

Despite backing out of the Hornets job in 2022 and a rocky time with big names like Durant and Irving, he’s thriving as a top-paid assistant in Golden State. With a previous run for the Lakers’ job, Atkinson’s due for another shot.

Frank Vogel

Remember Frank Vogel? He’s not just a candidate; he’s a proven champion with the Lakers. Vogel has already led LeBron James and Anthony Davis to an NBA title, setting a high bar for success. With rumors swirling about his future with the Suns, the Lakers have a rare chance to bring back a coach who’s been there, done that. Despite the awkwardness of re-hiring someone they previously fired, Vogel’s track record could be too tempting to ignore.