5:26pm: Ollie is interested in the position but wants a say in personnel decisions, according to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. In an interview with ESPN’s Andy Katz earlier today, Ollie said he hasn’t heard from the Lakers but would listen if they reached out, relays Don Amore of The Hartford Courant. Ollie, who played basketball at Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, said it would take a “very special” situation to make him leave his job at UConn.
3:45pm: The Lakers fired coach Byron Scott on Sunday night and speculation has begun in earnest as to whom the franchise will hire to lead it into the 2016/17 season. One candidate who is intrigued with the now-vacant post is UConn head coach Kevin Ollie, a source close to Ollie tells Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski first relayed that Ollie could be a potential target for the Lakers. This isn’t the first NBA coaching post that Ollie has been connected to, with the Thunder having reportedly made him their No. 1 target last summer, and Ollie apparently listened to overtures before pulling out of the running. Oklahoma City subsequently hired Billy Donovan as the successor to Scott Brooks.
Ollie is viewed around the league as a rising coach who could relate to and develop younger players like D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Anthony Brown, Medina writes. The 43-year-old is a former teammate of Kevin Durant‘s, with the two having played together during the 2009/10 season in Oklahoma City, and he could make the Lakers an attractive option for the small forward when Durant hits unrestricted free agency this summer, Medina also notes.
The Lakers would not be required to seek permission from UConn to interview Ollie, who has three years left on his contract with the Huskies after signing a five-year extension in 2014, Medina writes. Ollie has a clause in his contract that would allow him to depart for the NBA without negotiating a buyout with the university, but that clause won’t go into effect until March of 2017, Medina notes. The former NBA player has a career NCAA coaching mark of 97-44, all with UConn, and he led the Huskies to the National Championship in 2014.
Other candidates who are reportedly on the Lakers’ radar are Warriors assistant Luke Walton, who may be the favorite to land the job, former Cavs coach David Blatt, former Knicks and Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, former Warriors coach Mark Jackson and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina.