Report: Mavericks assistant now being linked to Lakers coaching search

Jesse Cinquini
5 Min Read
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

A recent report from Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times has connected Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Sean Sweeney to the Los Angeles Lakers as the team looks to hire a new head coach.

Sweeney is among several names being linked to the job as L.A. looks to replace Darvin Ham.

“As of midweek, the team is still in the early stages, with both internal team sources and external coaching sources describing the Lakers as ‘taking their time,'” Woike wrote.

“(Unless something changes with, say, Tyronn Lue).

“In conversations with sources over the last few days, there’s a strong sense the Lakers are putting a premium on experience in this search — following trends where the Lakers have course-corrected from one decision by doing a version of the opposite. And since Ham was a first-time coach …

“That means Kenny Atkinson, who has been on Steve Kerr’s staff in Golden State and who did well in the last Lakers’ coaching search, will be in the mix.”

Woike continued.

“But while there’s a desire to find someone with experience, the Lakers, sources say, aren’t solely focused on that and seem to be open to speaking with candidates from multiple coaching pedigrees,” he wrote.

“Yes, that means coaches with established records in the big seat on the sidelines. But it also means consideration of some of the most highly regarded assistant coaches, including those still working in the postseason such as Denver’s David Adelman, Minnesota’s Micah Noria, Boston’s Charles Lee and Dallas’ Sean Sweeney.

“And yes, it means consideration for broadcaster/podcaster JJ Redick, who will receive serious consideration despite no coaching experience beyond his son’s youth team in New York City.

“And, in the early stages, all signs point to the Lakers getting ready to cast a wide net.”

Sweeney has served as an assistant at the NBA level for the past 11 seasons. He got his start with the Brooklyn Nets and served as an assistant coach with the team for one season.

After his stint in Brooklyn, Sweeney had coaching stops with the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons before he joined the Mavericks coaching staff ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Sweeney’s Mavericks are fresh off a Game 1 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night in the second round of the playoffs. The Thunder held Luka Doncic to just 19 points on 6-of-19 shooting from the field and 1-of-8 shooting from deep in what was his worst game of the postseason to this point.

Another name reportedly on Los Angeles’ radar who makes sense as a target is Boston Celtics assistant coach Charles Lee. Lee has been coaching in the NBA in some capacity for about a decade, and he knows what it takes to win an NBA title, considering he was an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks when they won a championship back in 2021.

Lee is in a great situation in Boston, though, so it may be difficult for the Lakers to convince him to leave the Celtics for Los Angeles. The Celtics currently own a 1-0 series lead in their second-round matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers and seemingly have the talent and versatility on both ends of the floor to be perennial title contenders.

Of course, a head-coaching opportunity in L.A. could be too good to turn down, so that’s something to keep in mind.

The Lakers are reportedly in the early stages of their search for a new head coach, so more names could emerge as candidates in the coming days and weeks. But Los Angeles seemingly has its eyes on some intriguing candidates in guys like Lee and Sweeney, both of whom have extensive experience coaching in the NBA, even if they’ve never been head coaches at this level.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.