The Lakers are at “an impasse” in negotiations with Tyronn Lue to be their next head coach, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Talks have stalled without an agreement for Lue to take over the team, even though he has been widely expected to get the job.
Sources tell Wojnarowski that negotiations have focused on contract specifics and the makeup of Lue’s coaching staff. The Lakers want him to add former Nets and Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, who made a “strong impression” when he interviewed for the job and has shown an ability to develop young players.
The idea of having experienced assistants have always been important to Lakers management, notes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link), who adds that it was part of the reason there was friction with former head coach Luke Walton. A report yesterday said that Lue reached out to Tom Thibodeau about being his top assistant, but that pairing is considered unlikely to happen, even if Lue does get the job.
It’s not clear if Kidd is interested in taking on that role either, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. Kidd moved straight into a head coaching role after his playing days were over and has never worked as an NBA assistant.
In addition to Lue and Kidd, Lakers management also met with new Suns coach Monty Williams and Heat assistant Juwan Howard in their coaching search. L.A. never made Williams a contract offer before he signed with Phoenix, and there was “no concrete sense” that the team planned to, sources tell Charania.
Lue seems like a natural candidate for the Lakers because of his connection to LeBron James from their days in Cleveland, which included a championship and three straight NBA Finals appearances. However, Charania reports that James has told the front office he doesn’t want to be part of the coaching search and reportedly declined a request to speak to Williams about the job.
James intends his decision to be a sign of faith in management, Charania adds, and he is still committed to trying to get the team back into title contention. The Lakers are expected to be active on the free agent market, and the coaching decision will be among several factors that determines their success.