Lakers Coaching Search: New Hire Must Make Kobe Bryant Earn His $48.5 Million Contract [VIDEO]

Greg Archuleta
By Greg Archuleta @GeigaSr
on May 22, 2014 02:47 AM EDT
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Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant shook off an article by ESPN The Magazine that cited him as a key reason the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled. (Photo : Getty Images)

The statement reeks of common sense, begging the question as to why the Los Angeles Lakers didn't adhere to it the last time. Or the time before that.

Jeanie Buss tried to convince Phil Jackson to coach the Knicks so the Lakers could hire Derek Fisher?

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday that the franchise is finally opening up its coaching search after learning that it will select seventh in the June 26 draft, according to the Los Angeles Times.

One of the details that Kupchak stressed is that the new coach must utilize Kobe Bryant to get the most value out of their aging star guard.

"We have a player on our team right now who's proven in this league offensively who can score. That certainly is a consideration," Kupchak said. "We have to make sure that whoever we hire as a coach can really get the most productivity out of him, whether it's scoring the ball or playmaking or the threat that he may score. That's probably of primary importance right now."

Jim Buss cannot afford to whiff on the Los Angeles Lakers' next coaching hire

For some reason, it took three years for that idea to dawn on the Lakers' management after Phil Jackson quit. The team hired Mike Brown, who didn't have much of an offensive strategy his first season and then tried to install the Princeton offense in year two - and was fired five games into the season.

He was replaced by Mike D'Antoni, who wanted to run a fast-break, small-ball offense that was contrary to what Bryant preferred. Bryant thrived most in Jackson's triangle offense that relied on a post-up threat.

But the Lakers didn't rehire Jackson when they fired Brown.

Kupchak reported that Bryant is progressing well in his rehabilitation from a knee injury that halted his 2013-14 season after six games.

"We haven't seen much of him in the last year but he's been over here working out and he looks good," Kupchak said from the team's training facility. "Over the years, his game has changed from really a game where he's pretty wild and athletic and at times out of control ... in the early part of his career. In the last seven or eight years, he's become more deliberate and of course he's gotten a little bit older.

"I think you'll see a lot of him posting up. I think you'll see the ball in his hands making plays. I think Kobe knows where on the court he'll be most effective."

As to how that translate into the Lakers' coaching search remains to be seen. It didn't fact at all in the last two searches.

Do you think the Lakers will follow through with their plan of finding a coach to mesh with Kobe Bryant's skills? Comment below or tell us @SportsWN.

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