Lure of LeBron James Clear to Lakers, but Coaching Search Much More Complicated

LOS ANGELES — If LeBron James wins the current NBA Finals and is so brash as to ditch the Miami Heat while still on top for a third consecutive year, or if he loses to the Spurs and dares to assume the role of bad-guy "Decision" deserter again and ditches the Miami Heat as soon as they're down, and if James is more drawn to the glory of the Los Angeles Lakers' past than anyone knows, and if James is actually sold on Kobe Bryant's future and wants more than anyone is aware of to learn firsthand from Bryant's tough love…

If all those low-percentage conditions are met, then we could get to the matter of how it might benefit the Lakers to keep their head coach's office vacant to sell James on being able to pick his own guy to fill it, a notion that has circulated in some NBA circles.

Except even then, that's not the Lakers' intention.

The Lakers wouldn't want to give any superstar the power and pressure of tabbing his own coach and having the run of their franchise.

What they would do, absolutely, is the same thing they've had in mind from the beginning of this coaching search: If no one dazzles them as a must-hire guy as soon as possible, they'll just keep waiting and evaluate the potential benefit of how well the next coach matches up with whoever is on the roster besides Bryant.

If the moon really does go down over Miami and James then chooses the Lakers, L.A. would quite simply want to get the best possible win-now coach—not the coach James selects—to make the most of the LeBron-Kobe pairing's championship window.

And more established win-now coaches would want the chance to coach James and Bryant, of course. Mark Jackson would be boxing out Jeff Van Gundy and jumping out from behind the ABC broadcast table to follow James to the Lakers. Assuming Mike Krzyzewski wouldn't leave Duke for the truly once-in-a-lifetime chance to shoot for an NBA title with his USA Basket...

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