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LA Lakers Rumors Roundup: Doc Rivers denies ties to the Lakers head coaching job, front office still undecided on Russell Westbrook's future, and more - May 19th, 2022

Russell Westbrook of the LA Lakers on the bench
Russell Westbrook of the LA Lakers on the bench
Kunal Sethi

The LA Lakers still haven't found a head coach, and the search has slowed down. While the NBA community is enjoying the conference finals, the Lakers are building for next season.

They are likely to run it back next season with their Big Three of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis. However, several trade rumors have erupted around the three stars, and there is a lot of uncertainty around their roster for next year.

Many players were signed to one-year deals, and Laker Nation is unsure about which players will return next season. The front office needs to surround its stars with trustworthy role players, specifically for shooting and defense. They have little to no valuable assets in the trade market, and it appears they are headed into another mediocre season.

On that note, let's look at the top three rumors around the LA Lakers.

LA Lakers looking for "gravitas" in the next head coach

Coach Frank Vogel was fired by the LA Lakers after a disappointing 2021-22 campaign.
Coach Frank Vogel was fired by the LA Lakers after a disappointing 2021-22 campaign.

The LA Lakers have interviewed several candidates for their head coaching job but haven't found one yet. They initially narrowed it down to Terry Stotts and Darvin Ham. But recent reports suggest they requested permission to interview Charles Lee, an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks.

The front office announced that they are not going to rush this decision and want to find the one that fits their needs. The Athletic's Jovan Buha reported:

"Rob Pelinka made it clear that the team was going to take their time with the search and that one of the most important coaching qualities would be gravitas. That suggests a coach with experience, but several of the first-year candidates they've been linked to are former players that are known to command respect."
Since the Lakers fired Frank Vogel, they’ve been linked to over a dozen head coaching candidates.@jovanbuha grouped them into tiers, headlined by Quin Snyder.Full rankings: theathletic.com/3307282/?sourc… https://t.co/TQCrZKgRV3

LA Lakers front unsure about a future with Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook of the LA Lakers against the Phoenix Suns
Russell Westbrook of the LA Lakers against the Phoenix Suns

Several reports over the last week suggested that Russell Westbrook is going to stay put in Los Angeles. The Athletic's Sam Amick reported that the LA Lakers are asking coaching candidates how they would utilize Westbrook. It suggested that the Triple-double King was likely to return for the 2022-23 season.

However, a recent report by Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times suggested the opposite. Woike reported that executives during the draft combine in Chicago spoke about the uncertainty surrounding Westbrook's contract. Woike reported:

"I’ve spoken with more than a handful of executives here in Chicago about the Lakers and Russell Westbrook, and there’s really no clarity in what the team is going to do. ... But the only thing solid to report is that the Lakers haven’t ruled anything out when it comes to Westbrook’s future. ... A trade is certainly still on the table, too.
"It just seems like a complicated decision that the Lakers have ye to make."
The Lakers are reportedly still undecided on whether to trade or keep Russell Westbrook this offseason silverscreenandroll.com/2022/5/18/2312…

Doc Rivers shoots down Lakers head coaching rumor

Coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers
Coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers denied ties to the LA Lakers head coaching job. According to NBA journalist Marc Stein, the Lakers slowed down their head coaching search because they were holding out hope for Rivers becoming available.

The Sixers coach has made it clear that he is staying put in Philadelphia. As reported by Tom Moore of USA Today, Rivers said:

"I have a job. We want to win here."
#Sixers coach Doc Rivers on rumors of him being a candidate to coach the #Lakers: ‘I have a job. We want to win here.’ Says the entire staff is happy in Philly.

live poll LIVE POLL

Q. Should the LA Lakers trade Russell Westbrook?

Yes

No

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein

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