The Los Angeles Lakers are not the only team facing big questions after a first-round exit. In fact, as far as eliminated teams go, they’re in a relatively good spot. Meanwhile, Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers — who were eliminated the same night as the Lakers — have already fired their head coach, Terry Stotts.
As their franchise looks for the next leader who can attempt to bring a championship to the city of Portland, it was reported that Lillard, as the face of their franchise, would have significant influence over who the next head coach would be. And rumors are circulating that Lillard has chosen a familiar face to Lakers fans.
Reportedly, Lillard wants top Lakers assistant Jason Kidd to be the head coach for the Trail Blazers, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 5, 2021
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel got a chance to respond to the rumors ahead of time. “It’s been wonderful. Jason has become one of my closest friends. Really a trusted advisor on my coaching staff and someone that has been integral to our success in the last two years. He should be at the top of everybody’s list that has an opening in the NBA. Jason Kidd should be at the top of their list.
“I think him taking the route of wanting to learn the steps of an assistant coaching role after going right from his playing career to head coaching career and really just rolling his sleeves up and focusing on the work the last two years has been great for his career. He’s carried himself with a great deal of humility over the last two years and I really think he’s going to be in a different position of strength with the next opportunity he gets.”
Kidd notably struggled in his previous head coaching destinations, but perhaps Vogel is right that a couple years as an assistant helped to rebrand his coaching style and his image. If he does get hired by the Trail Blazers, he would have a better situation than most with one of the most talented players in the NBA.
Meanwhile, the Lakers would then have to fill Kidd’s spot on the bench. While it’s unclear who exactly is going to be available, L.A. would likely look at offensive-minded coaches to offset the defensive acumen of Vogel. Perhaps Stotts himself could be an option if he wants to go that route.
Rob Pelinka profusely praises coaching staff
Clearly, if it were up to Rob Pelinka, he wouldn’t change a thing about the Lakers coaching staff. He gave his thoughts on the group behind Vogel and how incredible they’ve been. “In terms of [Vogel’s] staff, I couldn’t praise more. His staff is a great group of guys. Being able sometimes to sit in the strategy rooms and the great basketball minds in there and how they collaborate and break issues down and come up with a game plan is something that’s really impressive.
“I wish all of you guys could see it, it really is. And there’s some names in that room I think that are gonna get attention for head coaching jobs around the league. You have a guy like Jason Kidd who’s been just outstanding here as a lead assistant. Just a 10 out of 10 I think in all ways and Lionel Hollins and Phil Handy, I could go down the entire list, Mike Pemberty and all the coaches that we have and the great job they’ve done.
“Our philosophy here is if there’s ways for our staff members or Frank’s staff members to grow and become head coaches, that’s something that we take great pride in. We want all of the players that are Lakers at some point in their career to always feel like this is a platform to grow and succeed whether they’re here or whether they move on with other teams and we feel the same way about coaches.”
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