Once the Lakers officially dismiss head coach Frank Vogel, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is expected to be one of the team’s top targets, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Lakers are hoping that Nurse is an option, according to Charania, who acknowledges that it’s unclear whether Nurse “will be attainable or whether he would have interest.”
In order to even talk to Nurse, the Lakers would have to get permission from the Raptors, since the former Coach of the Year remains under contract in Toronto for two more years. Nurse would then have to be interested in leaving a stable, well-run organization for one that was mired in dysfunction this season. And the Lakers would likely have to be willing to give up substantial draft compensation to acquire Nurse from the Raptors.
Given all of those obstacles, I’d be shocked if Nurse emerged as a realistic candidate for the Lakers’ job, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. As one Eastern Conference executive observed to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, Nurse is represented by Andy Miller at Klutch Sports, the same agency that reps LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
“I would expect the Lakers to at least ask about Nick Nurse,” the executive told Deveney. “… He got the big contract with the Raptors and he is secure there. They’re not going to let him go. But it makes him look better and Klutch look better if they are asking for him, right? So yeah, I would not be surprised to see the Lakers ask about him but more as a favor to Klutch. Maybe they won’t because he is so far out of reach. But, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, that is how things work.”
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- Anthony Davis said on Sunday that he still believes a roster built around him and LeBron James can contend for a title moving forward, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. “I think us two can. We’ve shown that we can,” Davis said.
- While James and Davis are widely expected to remain in Los Angeles going forward, Russell Westbrook‘s future is cloudier. According to Charania, rival executives believe the Pacers will be open to discussing trades involving Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield and could emerge as a Westbrook suitor, which is something Marc Stein suggested over the weekend. While Brogdon and Hield would be good fits on the Lakers’ roster, L.A. would likely have to attach sweeteners to Westbrook to realistically make any deal with Indiana.
- James told reporters today that an MRI on his left ankle showed that he won’t require surgery or any injections, but he’ll have to stay off of it for the next four-to-six weeks (Twitter link via Mark Medina of NBA.com). LeBron also said that he and the Lakers could have extension discussions later this offseason once CBA rules allow for it (Twitter link via McMenamin). James will become extension-eligible in August.
- Asked about potential roster moves and the possibility of playing with Westbrook next season, James said he’ll defer to the front office. “I’m not here to make decisions for the front office and that nature,” he said (Twitter links). “But I loved being teammates with Russ.”
- Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com spoke to multiple league sources about the Lakers’ disappointing season and the perception that head coach Frank Vogel was being undermined. “On a regular basis, (Kurt) Rambis would get on Vogel in front of staff and players — in practices, in the hallway where everybody can see it. He wasn’t taking it behind closed doors and laying it out,” one source said. “And what position does Rambis have? What’s his title? His title is friend of Jeanie Buss. Trust me, Frank Vogel would have been happy to have been fired from that mess.”
- Addressing Vogel’s firing, Bill Oram of The Athletic contends that the way the news leaked – before the team formally informed Vogel – should be a warning sign for potential replacements.
- Asked about his priorities in free agency this offseason, Carmelo Anthony said he’d like to win a championship, but also wants to be somewhere he’ll be happy. “If I gotta be unhappy to try to go fight and win a championship, I don’t want that. I don’t want that unhappiness,” he said, per McMenamin (Twitter link). “… I think at this point in my carer, it’s about just being happy and being able to wake up and come to work every day with a good attitude. Being positive.”