The Los Angeles Lakers, after they were expected to hire either Tyronn Lue or Monty Williams as their next head coach, instead hired Frank Vogel, the former coach of both the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic. The team also named Jason Kidd, the Hall of Fame player who previously coached the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks.
According to ESPN‘s Stephen A. Smith, the Lakers will eventually make Kidd the head coach, despite Vogel receiving a three-year deal.
Smith said on ESPN this weekend the Lakers’s front office wanted to hire Kidd and insisted on any head coach adding him to the staff. Smith added that “if there’s even a modicum of success that [Vogel] does not have,” Kidd will likely replace him as coach.
“You can expect Jason Kidd to be the next head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers in the next two years,” Smith said.
The commentator also said that certain aspects of Kidd’s past, including his domestic violence and DUI isssues during his playing career, as well as his pushes for greater front office power in his previous coaching stints, made him too much of a tough sell to be named head coach of the Lakers right away. However, Kidd is the coach that the Lakers wanted all along, per Smith, as well as the choice of Kurt Rambis, the senior basketball adviser who has been exercising power behind the scenes.
It’s unclear why the past issues with Kidd would not continue to be a problem for the Lakers if he were named their head coach in the future.
The hiring of Vogel followed several months of dysfunction for the Lakers, as the team failed to make the playoffs in Lebron James’ first season in Los Angeles. The team failed to acquire a second superstar to pair with James, while Magic Johnson, the team’s legendary player, abruptly quit his role as the team’s top front office decision maker at the end of the season. Then, after the team parted ways with coach Luke Walton, Monty Williams opted to coach Phoenix, while Tyronn Lue failed to reach agreement with the team on a new contract. Fans even held a protest of the team this weekend.
Lue reportedly objected to both the terms of the contract he was offered as well as the front office’s insistence on picking his assistants, Kidd included.
This off season, the Lakers are expected to resume their pursuit of Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. The teams failed to agree on such a deal before February’s trade deadline, although both teams have since undergone front office changes.