With Mike D’Antoni now out of the picture, the Los Angeles Lakers will look to hire a new head coach before next season with no shortage of viable candidates. One of those candidates is a familiar face as a special consultant to Mike Brown when he was with the Lakers.
Italian basketball legend Ettore Messina has informed CSKA Moscow that he won’t return and as a result, has been mentioned as a legitimate candidate to replace D’Antoni in Los Angeles. Although Messina has been named as an option for the Lakers, the former Lakers consultant may be more likely to join Greg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio according to Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops.net:
After Mike D’Antoni’s resignation from the Lakers, Ettore Messina is mentioned even as a candidate for the coaching job in Los Angeles. So, it’s a fact that this is the last European season of coach Messina, but his main option at this point seems to be the top assistant of Gregg Popovich.
Well before D’Antoni chose to resign, the rumors had been circulating about his potential replacement. Messina is one of many that have been mentioned as a candidate to be the Lakers next coach following the resignation, but he’s certainly not the biggest name on the list.
Among the candidates being mentioned are Byron Scott, George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy, Lionel Hollins, Kurt Rambis, Kevin Ollie, John Calipari and Derek Fisher.
Although Calipari has since downplayed any chance of taking the job, all the other names are all still in play with the coaching search in full swing for the Lakers. Scott and Ollie may be at the top of the list of candidates, but the storied franchise will likely take their time to evaluate their options.
Another possibility is luring Tom Thibodeau from the Chicago Bulls. Thibodeau is still under contract in Chicago, but the Lakers are expected to ask permission to talk to him.
BREAKING: Mike D’Antoni OUT, Resigns As Lakers Head Coach – Magic Johnson Says He Couldn’t Be Happier