On Monday it was reported the Los Angeles Lakers had cooled off their pursuit of former point guard Derek Fisher as the team’s next head coach. The Lakers want a more experienced coach leading the team.
Sources tell ESPN.com the Lakers will remain in contact with Fisher, but will focus on more veteran head coaches and expand their search. The team plans to reach out to Scott Skiles and Larry Brown, in addition to previously interviewed candidates Byron Scott, Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins and Mike Dunleavy.
Sources say that the Lakers, meanwhile, remain interested in discussing their vacancy with Fisher but also continue to proceed with a more deliberate coaching search than the Knicks. The Lakers — who have interviewed coaching veterans Byron Scott, Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins and Mike Dunleavy, in addition to discussions with former Lakers player and coach Kurt Rambis and ESPN analyst George Karl — are not yet locked into one candidate. The Lakers, sources add, have also internally discussed reaching out to Scott Skiles and former NBA championship-winning coach Larry Brown, who has spent the past two seasons in the college game at SMU.
Fisher remains the frontrunner for the New York Knicks coaching vacancy, though the soon-to-be 40-year-old has yet to decide whether or not he wants to pursue a head coaching opportunity.
Skiles and Brown are the newest additions to the Lakers’ coaching search.
Skiles was named the head coach of the Phoenix Suns in 1999 and, after two trips to the playoffs, was fired 51 games into the 2001-02 season. He moved onto the Chicago Bulls in 2003 and, following three consecutive playoff appearances, was fired 25 games into the 2007-08 season. Skiles last coached the Milwaukee Bucks, where he made the playoffs once in his first four seasons before resigning in the middle of the 2012-13 season.
In 1983, at the University of Kansas, Brown helped the Jayhawks take home the 1988 national championship. After moving back to the professional ranks and numerous stints throughout the league, he led the Detroit Pistons to an NBA title in his first season in 2004. Brown had less successful stints in New York and with Charlotte before taking over at SMU two years ago.
Scott, Gentry, Hollins, and Dunleavy have all interviewed for the Lakers’ opening. Gentry and Hollins are in contention for a number of current vacancies, and Dunleavy has also spoken with Knicks president Phil Jackson. Rambis and Karl have also discussed the position with management.