Lakers Interview Mike Dunleavy

THURSDAY, 7:52am: Dunleavy tells ESPN LA 710 radio that he did indeed interview with Kupchak, but he says the sitdown didn’t take place Wednesday, notes Arash Markazi of (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 12:01pm: Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak interviewed Mike Dunleavy for the team’s coaching vacancy this morning, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Dunleavy expressed interest in the job a few weeks ago after appearing on the team’s initial list of candidates, but he’s also met with Knicks president Phil Jackson about New York’s opening.

Dunleavy touted his relationship with Kobe Bryant when he spoke of his desire to coach the Lakers for a second time, referencing his recruitment of Bryant as a Clippers executive several years ago. Dunleavy, now 60 years old, succeeded Pat Riley as Lakers coach in the early 1990s, and since then he’s served as a head coach for the Bucks, Blazers and Clippers and was GM in Milwaukee in addition to his stint as Clippers GM. He was the NBA’s Coach of the Year with Portland in 1999, but he’s just 613-716 in parts of 17 seasons as a head coach in the league, the last of which came in 2009/10.

He isn’t the leading candidate for the Knicks job, but he and Jackson have had casual meetings regularly in recent years. Their latest encounter was more than just a friendly encounter and amounted to an interview. The notion of a tug-of-war between Jackson and the Lakers over a coaching candidate would spark fireworks, given Jackson’s deep-rooted connections to the Lakers franchise, but Dunleavy isn’t necessarily the favorite for the Lakers job, either. George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy, Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis, Kevin Ollie and John Calipari are all candidates the Lakers have reportedly planned to interview.

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