In late April, when the Lakers were interviewing candidates for their head coaching job, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted that Tyronn Lue had inquired with Tom Thibodeau about becoming his top assistant in Los Angeles (Twitter link via Showtime Forum).
With Lue now seemingly poised to claim the Lakers’ head coaching job, Frank Isola of The Athletic confirms that the team’s interest in Thibodeau was real. However, the former Timberwolves coach is unlikely to join Lue’s staff.
As Isola details, in addition to Lue’s inquiry, LeBron James let it be known through intermediaries that Thibodeau would be a “huge asset” to the Lakers in a lead assistant role. But Thibodeau is still earning money from his Timberwolves contract and can afford to be patient as he seeks another head coaching job, Isola writes. That echoes what we heard from Woj, who indicated in the wake of his initial report that Thibs would prefer to wait for a head coaching opportunity (Twitter link).
Isola also points out that Thibodeau might be wise to take a “wait-and-see” approach with a team like the Lakers after dealing with an unstable management group in Minnesota.
While the Lakers aren’t expected to bring Thibodeau aboard, it sounds like another noteworthy former head coach may join Lue in Los Angeles. As we relayed on Monday, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Frank Vogel is a strong candidate to become the Lakers’ lead assistant, if and when the team officially hires Lue.