Raptors coach Nick Nurse has been linked to the Lakers’ coaching vacancy, but fell just short of shooting down the scuttlebutt entirely.
“I don’t know where that stuff comes from and I’m focused on coaching (the Raptors),” he told reporters, via Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.
Nurse and the Raptors just completed their season, falling to the 76ers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Both Nurse and Jazz coach Quin Snyder have been linked to the Lakers job, despite being under contract with their current teams.
So either would have to be fired (unlikely) or the Lakers would owe draft picks — something of which they are in short supply — to the Raptors or Jazz. By all accounts, though, Nurse is a long shot to actually leave Toronto.
The Raptors made the playoffs without any drama; the Lakers failed to qualify for even in the play-in tournament. The Raptors are also set up nicely for the future, while the Lakers are saddled with some of the league’s oldest stars. LeBron James is still great, but Anthony Davis is still extremely prone to injury and Russell Westbrook doesn’t appear to be much of a fit.
That said, there is something about the sizzle of LA that tends to draw in coaches.
Still, it appears Nurse is set on remaining with the Raptors, at least that is how it appears now.
Others linked to the Lakers vacancy in recent weeks: Warriors assistant Mike Brown (link), ESPN analyst Mark Jackson (link), former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts (link), Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Jazz assistant Alex Jensen (link) and former Wizards and Thunder coach Scott Brooks (link).
The Lakers have already requested an interview with Ham, as relayed by our Alejandro Avila. Brown, of course, coached the Lakers previously.