Sam Cassell Among Lakers’ Head Coaching Candidates

Celtics assistant Sam Cassell is among the candidates to become the Lakers‘ next head coach, according to Shams Charania and Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who describe Cassell, James Borrego, and J.J. Redick as the team’s “initial leading targets.” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that Borrego and Redick are “names to watch” in Los Angeles’ head coaching search.

A former All-Star and three-time champion as an NBA player, Cassell transitioned to coaching in 2009. He spent five seasons as an assistant with the Wizards before spending the next decade coaching under Doc Rivers, including stints with the Clippers from 2014-20 and the Sixers from 2020-23. He was hired by the Celtics as Joe Mazzulla‘s lead assistant last spring.

According to reports from both Charania and Buha at The Athletic and Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Lakers’ initial round of head coaching interviews is expected to focus on candidates the franchise doesn’t know as well and hasn’t previously vetted. After speaking to those candidates, the Lakers will move on to talking to the ones they’re more familiar with before eventually narrowing the full group down to a smaller pool of finalists, per ESPN.

In addition to Borrego, Redick, and Cassell, potential candidates like David Adelman, Kenny Atkinson, Micah Nori, Chris Quinn, and Sean Sweeney have been linked to the Lakers. Here’s more on the search:

  • Sources tell Charania and Buha that the Lakers are seeking a coach who can command the locker room and hold players accountable. Their ideal candidate would also “tirelessly game-plan and provide a level of structure and organization,” according to The Athletic. Wojnarowski and McMenamin add that the term “grinder” keeps coming up in Rob Pelinka‘s conversations with people around the league about what he’s looking for.
  • While the Lakers are hoping to have LeBron James around for at least one or two more seasons, they’re “placing a premium” on finding a head coach who can maximize Anthony Davis‘ talents, per Charania and Buha. “This should be more of a hire about AD than LeBron,” one source told The Athletic.
  • Longtime Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is serving as a useful “unofficial resource” for the Lakers during their search process, multiple sources tell The Athletic. Krzyzewski has a level of familiarity with a number of the candidates L.A. is considering, including former Blue Devils sharpshooter Redick.
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