SANTA ANA, Calif.--If early signs are any indication, the Los Angeles Lakers will cast a wide net when it comes to their search for a new coach.
Unlike in 2012, when the Lakers fired Mike Brown five games into the season and had to act fast, the organization has the benefit of time and seems intent on using it.
A day after Mike D'Antoni walked away from the final year of his three-year contract, plenty of names emerged as possibilities for the Lakers, but sources insisted that talks with candidates had not yet begun.
ESPN Los Angeles reported the Lakers intend to reach out to Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, an attractive choice given the Lakers were the NBA's third-worst defensive team last year under D'Antoni.
The problem: Thibodeau is under contract through 2017, and the Lakers would have to negotiate a deal akin to the one the Clippers did last summer, sending a first-round pick to Boston to land Doc Rivers.
However, the Lakers have little to offer the Bulls as compensation. Only Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre are under contract. Given that teams cannot trade first-round picks in consecutive seasons, the Lakers could not offer Chicago a first-rounder until 2019. Their next two tradable picks are already committed to Phoenix and Orlando.
Chicago is under no obligation to allow the Lakers to talk to its coach, who has publicly battled with the Bulls' front office and whose team was bounced in the first round of the playoffs by Washington.
Former Nets, Hornets and Cavaliers coach Byron Scott is already on record as being interested in the job, and another face from the past said Thursday he would love to throw his hat in the ring, as well.
Mike Dunleavy, who coached the Lakers from 1990 to '92, said on his SiriusXM satellite radio show that while he had not heard from the Lakers, he would like to. "If I had an opportunity to interview with them," he said, "I would definitely be interested. I had a great run there when I coached in the '90s."
Dunleavy was among the candidates who interviewed with the Lakers in 2012 before the job went to D'Antoni. He led the Lakers to the NBA Finals in 1991, but could not get out of the first round the following year.
Dunleavy went on to coach in Milwaukee, Portland and was the coach of the Clippers from 2003 to '10, before quitting midseason to serve solely as the team's general manager.
Dunleavy has a career coaching record of 613-716.
Various reports Thursday continued to link the Lakers to former NBA coaches George Karl and Jeff Van Gundy, while Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks and Golden State's Mark Jackson could become candidates if they are fired by their respective teams.
Also believed to be in the mix are the two coaches who faced off in April's NCAA title game: Connecticut's Kevin Ollie and Kentucky's John Calipari.
"It's one of the premier jobs if not the premier job in the league," Dunleavy said on his radio show about the Lakers job. "... They've shown a great ability to reload over the years pretty quickly."
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