Lakers look at Calipari
LOS ANGELES (TSX) — Searching for a head coach for the third time in three years, the Los Angeles Lakers predictably include some big names on their wish list.
According to multiple reports, UConn's Kevin Ollie and Kentucky coach John Calipari are on the Lakers' short list. San Diego native Steve Kerr, considered a frontrunner for the New York Knicks' job, could also hear from the Lakers. And there are rumblings that the Lakers requested permission from the Chicago Bulls to speak with Tom Thibodeau.
After the worst season since the team moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis in 1961, Mike D'Antoni resigned Wednesday.
The Lakers finished the 2013-14 season 27-55, the worst 82-game record in team history.
Calipari downplayed reports that indicated he could take over the Lakers next season. Former Kentucky player Rex Chapman said on the day of the national championship game loss to Ollie's UConn team that Calipari's move to the Lakers was a "done deal."
Ollie is from Los Angeles and played in the NBA, a career spanning 11 different teams. He has a $2.55 million buyout at UConn if he leaves before the start of next season.
Former Lakers point guard Derek Fisher, still an active NBA player with the Oklahoma City Thunder, is thought to intrigue both the Knicks and Lakers.
D'Antoni quit with one guaranteed year remaining on his deal -- at $4 million -- when the Lakers refused to exercise a team option to extend his contract for the 2015-16 season.
"Given the circumstances, I don't know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons," said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. "On behalf of the Lakers, we thank Mike for the work ethic, professionalism and positive attitude that he brought to the team every day. We wish him the best of luck."
D'Antoni was hired early in the 2012-13 season to replace Mike Brown after the team struggled. Including the remainder of that season as well as 2013-14, D'Antoni compiled a 67-87 record as Lakers head coach.
The Lakers were the fourth NBA team D'Antoni has served as head coach, previously having led the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks. His overall career record for all four teams as head coach was 455-426.
In announcing D'Antoni's departure, the team said a search for his replacement will begin immediately