Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak says coaching search won’t drag out

first_imgKupchak said the Lakers are in the process of narrowing down a long list of candidates, which is believed to include Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton, as well as college coaches Kevin Ollie and Jay Wright, among others.The team will be hiring its fourth head coach since Phil Jackson left after the 2010-11 season. Scott joins Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni as coaches who failed to match the winning tradition of an organization that has hung 16 NBA championship banners.Scott finished 38-126 in two seasons with the Lakers and is 454-647 in 15 seasons with four teams.“You can never discount your record,” Kupchak told TWC. “That’s always a factor, although in this case, I wouldn’t say it’s the primary factor.”Scott’s ability to develop young talent was scrutinized throughout his tenure, especially after D’Angelo Russell, the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft, struggled for much of his rookie season. The hunt for a new Lakers head coach will not drag deep into the summer as it did two years ago, when the team waited until late July to hire Byron Scott, General Manager Mitch Kupchak told the team’s television network Monday.The Lakers parted ways with Scott late Sunday when they decided not to pick up a third-year option, after Scott’s teams won just 38 games and set franchise records for losses in both of his years at the helm.Kupchak told Time Warner Cable SportsNet the search “is not something that we want to drag out.”“We’re looking to have a big offseason,” Kupchak said in the interview. “It would be nice to have our staff in place during the draft and certainly when July 1 (when teams can begin negotiating with free agents) rolls around.” “I thought our young players did make progress,” Kupchak said. “The hardest thing to do is to get young players minutes and we had a bunch of young players. Veteran coaches don’t normally like to play young kids with big minutes and Byron did that.”In the interview, Kupchak stressed that he and Jim Buss, the team’s vice president of basketball operations, made the decision to replace Scott.“This was clearly just a basketball decision,” Kupchak said, “and that’s the way the organization is set up.”Team president Jeanie Buss operates the Lakers’ business operations, but has said if the Lakers do not return to the upper-reaches of the league by the end of next season, the front office could be in store for a major overhaul.“We feel we’re positioned well as an organization to quickly be in a different position a year from now,” Kupchak said. “Does that mean 50 or 55 (wins)? I don’t know. … But I do feel we can make great progress.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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