Photo by AP / Mark J. Teryl
The Los Angeles Lakers are on the verge of post-season retirement.
After losing to the Phoenix league leader on Tuesday night, as well as the San Antonio Spurs ’victory over the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers are officially unable to participate in the NBA’s second annual tournament.
If not on Tuesday, then the section on this season seems to inevitably close this week. Los Angeles lags behind San Antonio by two games, finishing last, 10th in the Western Conference postseason, and also lost a tie-break to Greg Popovich’s Spurs thanks to the records of every team in the conference.
Credit injuries or other misfortunes, but Los Angeles just broke out of the playoffs of its own accord. By all accounts, San Antonio had no agreed-upon plans for competition this postseason. While New Orleans acquired CJ McCollum in the final trading period in pursuit of a gaming tournament, Spurs completed a series of deals that traded veterans, such as Derrick White and Thaddeus Young, for future first-round capital.
“I don’t think Spurs ever tried to do that; it just came back to them, ”said one Western Conference official. “The Spurs were good enough to just step on the water, and the Lakers continued to lose.”
In the second half of the season, Los Angeles held a worse record (10-27) than Portland (11-26), while the Blazers dismantled their list, which included the aforementioned McColl deal, and appointed several players inactive due to injury. intentions to secure greater positioning in the NBA Draft Lottery.
Now that the finish line of this tumultuous campaign of 2021-2022 is mercifully approaching, the Lakers are expected to part ways with interlocutor Frank Vogel, B / R sources said, and the expected vacancy on the Los Angeles bench has left no shortage of potential candidates for replacement. positions.
As first reported by Mark Stein, Utah Jazz head coach Quinn Snyder may be the most frequently mentioned by league figures as a possible replacement for Vogel. Snyder is currently in Utah and told Andy Larsen about it Salt Lake Tribune: “I focus on our guys and our team. And, as I said, to turn to hypotheses in such matters in any form that I believe is disrespectful. ”
However, this has not dispelled doubts that Snyder, an assistant to the Lakers in 2011-12, may be inclined to step down from Jazz after this season, especially since Utah has collapsed on its own in the Western Conference standings. Jazz has missed six of its last seven games. And again the microscope among the league staff has shifted to the long-term partnership of Donavan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
Photo by AP / Jed Jacobson
However, there is a healthy dose of skepticism around the NBA that Snyder would be interested in the Lakers ’hypothetical marriage. It would seem that Snyder would be an equally notable candidate to one day replace Popovic in San Antonio, even if Popovich stays on the side of the Spurs in the 2022-23 season.
Doc Rivers, head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, is another active reserve leader whom the league staff mentions as a potential Lakers candidate. Rivers ’tenure in Philadelphia has also been called into question due to the fact that team president Daryl Mori has in time acquired James Harden and there is growing speculation about a possible reunion with former Harden Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni.
Rivers has also been linked by several league sources as a potential replacement for Jazz, in case Snyder leaves Utah. Rivers was the head coach at Boston from 2004 to 2013 under current Jazz CEO Danny Eing.
Of course, there will be other candidates to replace Vogel. Several league players contacted by B / R cited the possibility that Lakers senior basketball adviser Kurt Rambis would return to the sidelines after several previous coaching stops in the league, including a temporary job as head coach of Los Angeles. However, Rambis is said to be an integral part of the front office and is unlikely to return to the coaching role.
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As the Lakers are expected to focus on candidates with previous experience, it was known that former Los Angeles head coach and current Warriors assistant Mike Brown, who hired Snyder for the 2011-12 campaign, is known to be interested in leaving the Golden State for another opportunity on the team. first chair. The same is said of Steve Clifford, who was recently the head coach of the Magic from 2018 to 21, who served as an assistant to the Lakers in 2012-13. It is also widely believed that Los Angeles, as was customary in the franchise, will prefer coaching candidates with past ties to the organization.
Los Angeles will be limited in its ability to reduce staff outside the coaching staff. While some leaders of rivals in the league have questioned the Lakers ’willingness to discuss All-Star forward Anthony Davis’ exchange this offseason, several sources aware of the situation deny that the option will be seriously on the table for Los Angeles. Despite Davis ’battle with injury in the last two seasons, the Lakers figures still believe that a healthy Davis-LeBron James couple can once again boast a ceiling that can qualify for the championship as it did in 2020 year.
The way Vice President Rob Pelinka and Los Angeles are changing the roster could be limited to a potential trade by Russell Westbrook or a revision of the Lakers package by Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nana, often discussed with rival offices in front of the dealership. The Lakers nearly sent Horton-Tucker to Toronto as part of a deal with three teams from the New York Knicks. Nan is expected to take his version of the player for $ 5.25 million next season, sources said, after not appearing in the game this year.
However, Westbrook’s relocation options still look limited outside of the Rockets that will deliver John Wall to Los Angeles. The possibility of this exchange still depends on the readiness of the Lakers to send Houston in the upcoming election in the first round. Once the NBA calendar for 2022-23 begins in July, Los Angeles will gain access to trade for its first rounds in 2027 and 2029.
Photo by AP / Ashley Landis
The Lakers should also think about the future without defender Malik Mank, who ranks third in the team both in total minutes played and points this season. In Los Angeles, Monk, the 11th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, won a minimum wage contract after the Kentucky product spent four seasons in Charlotte.
Although Monk did not arouse much interest in free agents last summer, after reports of a lack of commitment to basketball and unprofessional trends, Monk succeeded along with James this season, scoring more than 39 percent of three in the second campaign in a row and scoring a goal. 17.2 points in 36 minutes.
The expectations of league staff surveyed by B / R for Mank’s next salary are quite different, but ranged from an average annual cost of $ 5 million to $ 10 million, well above the minimum number the Lakers were able to sign him for this season.