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Lakers Rumors: Latest Info on Potential Free-Agent Targets and Head Coach Search

NEW ORLEANS - FEBRUARY 16: Kobe Bryant and Byron Scott of the West All-Stars talk during the West All-Stars Practice on center court at NBA Jam Session presented by Addidas at the Earnest N. Morial Convention Center February 16, 2008 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   Mandatory Copyright Note: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJuly 14, 2014

The beginning of a new era with the Los Angeles Lakers franchise is well underway. With Pau Gasol leaving for the Chicago Bulls via free agency, the Lakers have Kobe Bryant, Julius Randle and not much else to be excited about next season.

The team still has to fill the rest of its roster slots. In the rough-and-tumble Western Conference, the playoffs are far from a certainty. 

 

The Next Head Coach

Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Perhaps the next order of business should be hiring a head coach. Per Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News, the decision on the team's next sideline leader could be coming up soon.

Rumors have circulated that former Laker Byron Scott is the front-runner for the job, but until something is official, this is just another uncertainty for the franchise.

Kobe Bryant has already given his endorsement for Scott, so that's a solid sign.

Per ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin, Bryant said:

He was my rookie mentor when I first came into the league. So I had to do things like get his doughnuts and run errands for him and things like that. We've had a tremendously close relationship throughout the years. So, obviously I know him extremely well. He knows me extremely well. I've always been a fan of his.

A new coach's success is directly tied into his star player's buy-in, so Scott would have a nice head start on rebuilding the Lakers.

 

Wing Help

May 30, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) wipes his face during a game against the Miami Heat in game six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-
USA TODAY Sports

Per Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Lakers are among a group of teams to show a slight interest in signing Lance Stephenson. Deveney writes:

Several teams mentioned in connection with Stephenson, including Boston, Chicago and the Lakers, have not been serious in their pursuit, the source said, while others could register late interest. Perhaps now that the team has lost out on Carmelo Anthony, and Gasol has bolted for the Bulls, that interest should be raised for Stephenson.

While the 23-year-old does have character concerns, there's no doubting his talent. He can play either the 2-guard or small forward position, and he has the intensity necessary to coexist with Bryant.

Stephenson could benefit from having Bryant mentor him, much like Scott helped a young Mamba.

 

Steve Nash Coming Back

Apr 4, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash (10) during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center. The Mavericks defeated the Lakers 107-95.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers need bodies, but keeping Nash seems pointless. Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times breaks down the situation facing the Lakers and Nash.

While Nash is still skilled, he's 40 years old, and injuries have ravaged his last three seasons. With the team truly heading into a new era, there's no reason to keep Nash around as an oft-injured veteran presence.

 

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