It became clear early this offseason that the Los Angeles Lakers would have a spot to fill on their coaching staff as lead assistant Jason Kidd was linked to just about every head coaching opening available.
Kidd eventually landed on the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the next head coach responsible for leading Luka Doncic into their next era.
Shortly after Kidd took the job, it was reported that he may attempt to bring some Lakers assistants with him, which would open up more spots on Frank Vogel’s bench. It was also reported that given the uncertainty of Vogel’s contract situation, other teams may also try to poach Lakers assistants.
While none of that has happened yet, it was known that the Lakers would have at least one opening because of Kidd, and they have wasted no time filling that. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the team is hiring David Fizdale as an assistant:
The Lakers are finalizing a deal to hire former Knicks and Grizzlies coach David Fizdale as an assistant coach, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2021
Fizdale is originally from Los Angeles so this is a bit of a homecoming for him. He has a ton of coaching experience, starting out as an assistant at the college level from 1998-2004 before moving on to the NBA.
The 47-year-old was an assistant with the Golden State Warriors in 2003-04, then moved on to the Atlanta Hawks (2004-08) and Miami Heat (2008-16).
Fizdale landed his first head coaching gig with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2016, although that didn’t go as planned as he only lasted a season-and-a-half before being fired. He went 43-39 and lost in the first round in his first year before starting off 7-12 the second year.
He was given another chance as head coach with the New York Knicks in 2018, but that didn’t go any better as he went 17-65 in his first season and then started off 4-18 in 2019 before being fired once again.
Fizdale has been away from the game for a couple of years now, so the hope is that he learned something in that time and is ready to get back on a bench. He was viewed as an elite assistant known for his offense before his two failed head coaching stints, making him an attractive candidate for the Lakers to replace Kidd.
Fizdale has close relationship with LeBron James
The other factor at play here is that Fizdale is extremely close with Lakers star LeBron James dating back to their days together in Miami.
So while that may or may not have been the main factor in this hire, there’s no doubt that James played some sort of role in Fizdale ending up with the Lakers.
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