Dunleavy Returning To Coach Lakers?

Royce Young

LOS ANGELES – More and more names are surfacing in the hunt for the next Lakers coach and one candidate is a familiar face — Mike Dunleavy.

Dunleavy coached the Lakers after Pat Riley stepped away from the bench and had a pretty successful stint there. He upset the Blazers in the Western Conference Finals before losing out to Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan in the 1991 Finals.

Dunleavy most recently coached the Clippers, where he wasn’t really successful. He resigned as coach after going 215-326 with the Clippers. He’s currently waiting and arbitration case after he sued the organization after it stopped paying him after his dismissal as general manager. Dunleavy has a career record of 613-716 as a head coach with the Lakers, Milwaukee, Portland and the Clippers.

Is he a fit there? Yeah, I’d say so. Every coach is better with good players and while Dunleavy wasn’t great with the Clippers, he’s a coach that did well in Portland with the Blazers (winning Coach of the Year in 1999), coming within a Game 7 collapse of beating Shaq and Kobe in the 2000 Western Conference Finals.

Dunleavy has a good relationship with Kobe, as he nearly recruited him to the Clippers in 2004. And that’s the thing — give Dunleavy good players and he’s always been pretty successful. With the Clippers, he was at the front of a fairly dysfunctional roster. He didn’t do a great job by any means, but he certainly hasn’t forgotten how to coach. And whoever it is that takes the Laker job will have a good roster in place, a smart general manager in the front office and an owner willing to spend. That’s a recipe for success, for any coach.

Right now the names that have surfaced are Dunleavy, Rick Adelman and Laker assistants Brian Shaw and Chuck Person. The search will likely be fairly wide and cover a large number of candidates. A report had stated it starts with director of player personell Jim Buss, owner Jerry Buss and GM Kupchak, in that order.


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