Though there are reports that the Los Angeles Lakers are still eyeing others, the general belief is that the three finalists for the head coach opening are Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts.
Of the three, the one with the most head coaching experience is Stotts, who spent the last nine seasons in Portland as well as previous stints in Milwaukee and Atlanta.
Known to be a great offensive mind, Stotts would also be the ideal lead assistant candidate for a lesser experienced coach. Those entering into their first head coaching position tend to hire an assistant with plenty of it to help them through and for someone like Ham, who has never been a head coach, a guy like Stotts next to him would be perfect.
However, that apparently is not what Stotts is looking for as according to Dan Woike the L.A. Times, Stotts is not interested in being a lead assistant:
According to sources, Stotts was asked previously if he would have interest in joining the Lakers as an assistant should he not be hired as a head coach. Stotts, sources said, told the team that he has no interest in a role as a lead assistant.
Stotts was approached about joining Frank Vogel in that role last season on the Lakers’ bench and also declined, sources said.
While some coaches are willing to take a step back and be an assistant until landing their next head coaching position, others prefer not to go that route and that seems to be the case with Stotts right now. While he did go back to being an assistant after his stints in Milwaukee and Atlanta, he apparently is dead set on being a head coach at this time.
His stint in Portland was a bit of a mixed bag overall. While he did lead the Trail Blazers to the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons, he escaped the first round in only three of those trips, leading some to wonder if he is capable of taking a team over the hump.
If the Lakers believe Stotts can then he could well be the team’s next coach. But if not, it looks like Stotts is willing to take a second consecutive season away from the league.
Magic Johnson believes Lakers should hire ex-player as next head coach
If it is up to Lakers legend Magic Johnson, the Lakers will go the route that many teams around the league are taking and hire an ex-player as their next head coach, which would lean towards Ham over Stotts or Atkinson.
In a recent interview, Johnson spoke about the trend of former players thriving as coaches right now with the likes of Jason Kidd, Steve Kerr and Ime Udoka all in the Conference Finals while others such as Willie Green, Tyronn Lue and Monty Williams are doing great jobs as well.
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