Lakers Notes: Coaching Search, Redick, LeBron, Bronny, Russell

After conducting an initial round of meetings with several head coaching candidates, the Lakers are expected to move onto the next stage of their search process before the end of the month, Shams Charania of The Athletic said during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday (Twitter video link). According to Charania, the team is expected to dig deeper into basketball discussions during those second meetings after getting to know the candidates in the initial interviews.

“They’re finishing up their first round of interviews this week,” Charania said. “Next week, I believe, they’re going to start their second phase in this process, getting more conversations with candidates — more, maybe, basketball-centric conversations. I think a lot of it (up until) now was surface level.”

Having previously described J.J. Redick as the presumptive favorite for the job, Charania reiterates that “everyone around the league” believes the ESPN analyst and former NBA sharpshooter is the frontrunner. According to Charania, Redick was the first candidate to get a face-to-face meeting with the Lakers, who talked to him for “an extended period of time” at last week’s draft combine in Chicago.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Agent Rich Paul previously told Charania that LeBron James isn’t pushing for his podcasting partner Redick to become the Lakers’ head coach. Speaking to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, LeBron’s agent went into more detail on that subject. “This is a Lakers decision. I always advise LeBron or anybody for that matter not to really position yourself in a manner of which you have a hand so strong in a decision that could come back to bite you down the road,” Paul said. “… I think for him being so good for so long, people just think he controls the team. There’s no controlling of the team. And J.J. is a friend. We respect J.J. I know LeBron and J.J. have the podcast. I did J.J.’s podcast. Me and J.J. talk hoops all the time. He does know hoops. But just because they have a podcast—the Lakers have to make a decision for now and later. And whatever that decision is, that’ll be an organizational decision. It’s as simple as that.”
  • Paul also reiterated a point he made earlier in the spring, telling Haynes that steering Bronny James to the Lakers so that he can play with his father isn’t a goal. “LeBron said he wanted to play with his son. Bronny can’t do anything about that,” said Paul, who represents both players. “And that’s nothing we should push back on. If he wants to play with his son, that’s that. But again, I have a job to do representing Bronny and LeBron. … If it aligns where he can play with his dad, great. Am I necessarily focused on that? No, not at all. I’m focused on a team-plan investment and a seriousness as it pertains to fit and opportunity.”
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report breaks down the potential paths for D’Angelo Russell and the Lakers this offseason, examining five different ways the offseason could play out for the veteran guard. Russell could pick up his player option to either stay in Los Angeles or to accommodate a trade, or he could decline that option, which would set him up to re-sign with L.A., leave in a sign-and-trade deal, or leave outright. According to Pincus, many people in the industry believe the Lakers want to upgrade their roster around LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Austin Reaves, which could mean Russell ends up elsewhere, whether that happens via free agency or trade.
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