Source: Lakers eye Mike Dunleavy

The Los Angeles Lakers
have had to replace two coaching legends in the last 20 years: Phil
Jackson and Pat Riley. The only time it’s worked out well, the team
turned to Mike Dunleavy.

They’re thinking of doing the same again this time. Dunleavy was
contacted by the team this week and is said to be on the team’s current
"short list" to succeed Jackson, according to a source with knowledge of
the situation. That list also includes former Houston Rockets
coach Rick Adelman, who’s Marc Stein and’s
Dave McMenamin reported Thursday also would be a candidate for the
position.Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw has the public endorsement of Kobe Bryant
and is regarded as by far the strongest in-house candidate. But a
league source told ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher that Bryant would
support the hiring of Adelman if the team decided to go in that
direction.The Lakers have scheduled interviews with Shaw and fellow Lakers assistant Chuck Person, sources told Bucher.Dunleavy is currently awaiting judgment in his arbitration hearing with the Los Angeles Clippers,
who stopped paying the balance of his contract after they fired him as
general manager last year. Dunleavy earlier had resigned as coach after
going 215-326 with the Clippers.Though his recent history with
the Clippers was unsuccessful, Dunleavy is still viewed as a strong
tactician with an impressive history of postseason success. He was the
NBA Coach of the Year in 1999 with the Portland Trail Blazers. The
Lakers have always thought fondly of the job he did in replacing Riley
in 1990, leading the team to an upset over the Trail Blazers in the 1991
Western Conference finals before losing to Jackson’s Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals. Dunleavy
has maintained a friendship with Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss and his
son, Jim Buss. As recently as last year, he watched Lakers games with
Buss from his suite at Staples Center. He also has a long history with Bryant, whom he courted and nearly convinced to join the Clippers as a free agent in 2004.

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