Lakers coaching search: Mark Jackson and Terry Stotts are reportedly the last to be interviewed for a vacancy

The Los Angeles Lakers scapegoated Frank Vogel for a lousy roster that delivered a pretty pathetic 2021-22 campaign and fired him. If they think a coaching change will get them back in contention for the championship next season without major roster upgrades, they’re crazy, but they still need a new coach.

To that end, the Lakers interviewed former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts this week. by Adrian Wojnarowskias well as former Golden State Warriors coach and current ESPN broadcaster Mark Jackson, per Shams Charania.

Stotts, a mostly offense-leaning coach who led the Blazers to eight straight postseason berths and a berth in the 2019 Conference Finals, would be a first departure from the defensively-leaning bird.

Perhaps the interest would be there if Russell Westbrook was not traded. The Athletic recently reported that Vogel was taken out of the can in part because he couldn’t figure out how the Westbrook experiment worked, which is an utterly ludicrous claim from many perspectives. Westbrook isn’t a good player anymore. It is actively harmful most nights. It’s been like this for a while.

But LeBron James and Anthony Davis wanted him, and the Lakers’ front office, which of course takes no responsibility despite ultimately executing the trade, has already tried to blame LeBron and his agency, Klutch Sports, for pushing for Westbrook. When that didn’t hold up, Vogel became the easy culprit.

Stotts has been a good coach for a long time, but he or anyone else isn’t going to win a title with the Lakers if Westbrook plays any significant role.

As for Jackson, who last coached in 2013-14, the Lakers aren’t the only team in play here. Jackson is reportedly a finalist for the Sacramento Kings coaching job.

Jackson’s tenure at the Golden State ended in a flare-up of bad feelings. Warriors owner Joe Lacob literally said that pretty much everyone in the organization didn’t like Jackson, and in fact some pretty weird things happened when he was in charge, including but not limited to players being pitted against each other (Jackson said According to reports the players (an injured Festus Ezeli actively cheered against the team to win in his absence) while fostering an environment so steeped in paranoia that an assistant coach felt the need to secretly record conversations.

Jackson is rightly credited with turning the Warriors from a laughing stock into a solid playoff team. He undoubtedly changed defensive culture and unleashed Stephen Curry, who has blossomed into an all-star under Jackson. That said, Golden State, one could argue, ended up underachieving under Jackson, as evidenced by the fact that Steve Kerr, with essentially the same roster, took the Warriors from a team with 51 wins and a first-round loss to a 67-er led. Win a team and take over a championship for Jackson in his first season.

That said, Jackson doesn’t see the game any differently after spending the past eight years on television and being exposed to a variety of newer philosophies. We expect players to improve, but tend to think of trainers as finished products.

Golden State was Jackson’s first coaching experience. He was there for three years. If he were a player, he wouldn’t even have gotten out of his rookie contract. We would never expect a player to be no better on his second contract than on his first. It’s also worth noting that Jackson is a Klutch customer. Lakers coaching search: Mark Jackson and Terry Stotts are reportedly the last to be interviewed for a vacancy

Justin Scacco

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