Both Mike D'Antoni and Coach K will be candidates to replace Mike Brown.
D’Antoni is the odds on favorite to get the position. The Lakers have a dynamic group of players that would benefit from a fast-paced offense, and what better coach to implement it than the innovator of the seven-seconds-or-less run and gun offensive, Mike D’Antoni himself?
There are a lot of things in play here: Kobe grew up watching D’Antoni play in the Italian leagues and has a strong respect for the coach. Steve Nash of course won two MVP awards under D’Antoni’s tenure in Phoenix; and biggest of all, Jim Buss has wanted nothing more than to separate himself from his father and build a Lakers championship team on his own, and what better way to do that than by bring in his ‘own guy’?
Phil Jackson: 35% Chance
Even though Jim Buss and Phil Jackson haven’t always seen eye to eye, he is still in play to be the Lakers next coach. As much as Buss would love to build a championship team without using his father’s guy, Jackson is too perfect of a fit to pass up. The big question here is whether or not Jackson still wants to coach.
Sure, there was talk about him wanting to coach again last season, but that was specifically about coaching the New York Knicks. Phil has always been a philosophical guy, and returning to coach the Knicks was always based on the symbolism of ending his career where he began it as a player. Phil wanting to coach is not completely certain, but if he wanted to come back, the job would most likely be his.
Brian Shaw: 10% Chance
The Lakers had a chance to hire Shaw as their coach last year and decided to go another direction. The Lakers fan base would welcome Shaw as their new coach, but Jim Buss was simply not sold on Shaw and viewed him more as a Phil Jackson understudy, which he was trying to separate himself from. So if the team cannot get Phil Jackson himself, there is only a small chance that they would want his ‘mini me’. But the reason Shaw has a chance at all is his relationship with the organization, as well as the fact that he would probably have Kobe Bryant’s full support.
Jerry Sloan: 4% Chance
Sloan would be decent fit with the Lakers, as he is a no-nonsense coach that would probably mesh well with Kobe, but he just isn’t that high profile of a coach to get the nod from the Buss family. If D’Antoni, Jackson, and Shaw were to all pass on the position then Sloan would probably be the odds on favorite.
Mike Krzyzewski: 1%
Coach K has always said he has no interest in coaching in the NBA, but because of his relationship with Kobe Bryant, the Lakers will no doubt approach the Duke Coach just to see. Who knows, maybe he has a change of heart?
Kobe has had a close relationship with the Krzyzewski since entering the NBA and has said on numerous occasions that if he had played in college he would have done so at Duke.
There are not many coaches left to choose from. Who are the Lakers really going to bring in-- one of the Van Gundy brothers? If they want to keep Howard they won’t. There’s Larry Brown, Isaiah Thomas, a college coach? There’s not much to choose from.