For a variety of practical — and sensible — reasons, Nick Nurse spurning the Raptors for the Lakers already seems like a hypothetical loss of steam. One reason is the way the Lakers continue to operate as a franchise, especially when it comes to consistently undercutting their former head coach from the start.
Coaching free agents aren’t the only ones considering their options and whether to return to Los Angeles. Avery Bradley, Carmelo Anthony and Kent Bazemore are all veterans who could potentially return to the team next season.
Let’s check out the latest reports and headlines.
The latest on those Nick Nurse rumors
The most surprising name to come up in the Lakers coach search was Raptors lead Nick Nurse. Nurse, an interest that grew out of his Klutch client, is a Phil Jackson product, but that effectively spells the end of his ties with the Lakers.
For a number of practical reasons, it never seemed likely that the Lakers would be able to lure Nurse away from Toronto, and veteran NBA insider Marc Stein reported in his recent Spotify Green Room that the title winner seems unlikely to come to SoCal.
“I don’t see it happening and I don’t see Nick Nurse ever admitting that, but of course I would have to think he would care… It’s still the Lakers. It’s still the most glamorous franchise on the NBA map, and if they really want him, I’m sure he’s taken notice on some level. But I don’t see how it happens. Yes, he’s a Klutch customer, so that’s certainly where it comes from. I don’t think LeBron James really knows Nick Nurse, but Nick Nurse’s acumen as a coach is well known in the league, and LeBron is a much smarter student of the game than I am, so he saw what Nurse did.
“But practically there is no indication that Nick intends to leave Toronto. Second, even if he did, he’s very early on in a new contract. I think he’s got three years after that, maybe two, but at least two after that… And the Lakers aren’t exactly flush with the draft indemnity to get Nick Nurse out. So it’s like people in the league have been raving about it, I heard about it last week, I didn’t report it because of all the practical obstacles that get in the way. I just don’t see how the Lakers could get Nick Nurse from the Raptors even if he was looking to get out, and I want to be clear: I haven’t heard anything along those lines.
“It’s not just made up, people in the league talk about it a lot, I just can’t see how that could come to fruition… It’s doing the rounds to an extent, but is it the people that just two.” and add two and get seven? I mean yeah he’s a Klutch customer, yeah he’s a great coach. Is there a practical way to get it? I do not know.”
The most obvious pitfall in trying to land Nurse, as Stein discusses, is the lack of draft capital to get Nurse out of his contract with the Raptors. Given his contract status, the Lakers would effectively have to trade for Nurse, and any draft picks used in that deal would be draft picks that could not be used in a Russell-Westbrook deal. It would also lead to a consideration of how many draft picks Nurse would be worth, and all that assuming the Raptors see value in the 2027 and 2029 first-round picks for losing their head coach.
For all of these reasons, Nurse feels like a distant option for the team, even though he’s seen as the ideal solution.
What could actually deter coaches from Lakers job?
A lack of draft compensation isn’t the only thing that separates the Lakers from coaching candidates. It has previously been reported that the way the Lakers have dealt with the end of Vogel’s tenure is keeping one candidate – namely Quin Snyder – out of the job. Doc Rivers also admitted this, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also reported it.
But also the way the team handled the start of Vogel’s tenure, and the negotiations in particular. Also on his Spotify Green Room, Stein spoke about what keeps coaches from the Lakers job.
“There’s no question that coaching candidates are put off by this and it’s something that’s debated and it’s a thing that immediately makes the rounds among coaches. People pay attention to the stuff. However, it’s still the Lakers, and it’s still going to be a coveted job. And will it cost the candidate? That seems kind of a stretch to me. Because again, there are things about the Laker job that are more daunting. Really just the expectations and the microscope you’re under, so I’d say it’s a bit of both. Yes, people talk about it, but the Lakers will still draw any coach’s attention when they come after them.
“The bigger issues the Lakers have to overcome is what kind of autonomy are you going to give a coach? Will he be able to choose his own assistants? It wasn’t Frank Vogel. What type of contract are you offered? Because Frank Vogel only got a three-year contract and not the industry standard, which would be a four-year contract or a five-year contract. I think all of those things are more important than the Vogel thing, which I’m sure the Lakers will have a private alibi or version of that story to share in interviews with coaches if that comes up.
When the Lakers were last looking for a head coach, part of the problem with the candidates was that the team insisted on having Jason Kidd on the staff of whoever was hired, an even more bizarre decision. And with Ty Lue in particular, the team’s lack of desire to give him more than a three-year deal cost him a chance at a very talented head coach.
Melo, Avery Bradley may be back, but Kent Bazemore is probably gone
The nature of signing a plethora of one-year deals, as the Lakers did last offseason, is that there is a lot of uncertainty this summer about which players might return. With the season being less than a week over, there are some early signs for some of the veteran players.
As part of the Lakers Report Card series at The Los Angeles TimesBrad Turner wrote of Avery Bradley that we “should expect the Lakers to try to bring him back for another run since he’s a veteran who fits in with the team’s superstars,” and he also reported that Carmelo Anthony ” not ready to retire just yet Expect the Lakers to try to bring him back as a key role player.
Turner’s colleague Dan Woike, meanwhile, wrote that Kent Bazemore is “looking for a chance to play – and it probably won’t be with the Lakers.”
Anthony spoke about his future during his exit interview and didn’t exactly sound like someone interested in returning to the Lakers. Given how disappointing the overall season was, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the team parted with many free agents this year.
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