The search for the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers has officially begun with the team starting to interview candidates for the vacancy on the sidelines.
Apparently, GM Mitch Kupchak has a certain priority that he wants in the search for the next head coach and it involves Kobe Bryant, according to Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Mitch Kupchak says that a top priority in the next coach is being able to get the “most productivity” out of @KobeBryant
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) May 21, 2014
Although Kobe won’t be weighing in on the Lakers’ search for the next coach, Kupchak prioritizing Kobe’s productivity is an interesting move. Kobe only has two years left on his deal with the Lakers and could retire after 2015-16 NBA season, but Kupchak and company want to maximize what they’re getting out of the five-time NBA champion in the meantime.
Kobe will make $48.5 million over the next two seasons after signing the contract extension back in November of last year. Unfortunately, Kobe only played six games this past season before suffering a knee injury that would shut him down for the year.
With Kobe going down with consecutive season-ending years over the past two years, there’s no telling what the Lakers will get out of him over the course of his extension. As expected, Kobe is as confident as ever that he’ll return to form as an elite player in the NBA, but there’s no guarantee that will be the case.
Currently, the coaching candidates rumored to be considered for the job in Los Angeles are Byron Scott, Jeff Van Gundy, George Karl, Roy Williams, Derek Fisher, Kurt Rambis, Mark Jackson and Tom Thibodeau.
A few candidates have already been crossed off the list with Steve Kerr and Stan Van Gundy finding jobs elsewhere in the NBA and Kevin Ollie recently signing a contract extension with UConn. Kentucky’s John Calipari has also refuted any reports of him leaving the university in favor of the Lakers.
NBA Draft Combine: Lakers Mitch Kupchak Talks Kobe Bryant’s Influence On Coach