Windhorst calls out common Lakers mistake that will bite them again in coach search

The Lakers keep making the same mistakes with their head coaches.
Los Angeles Lakers, Rob Pelinka
Los Angeles Lakers, Rob Pelinka / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers fired head coach Darvin Ham and are searching for his replacement. Ham led them to the conference finals last year, but could not survive a disappointing second season that saw the purple and gold bounced in the opening round of the playoffs. There is certainly pressure on the franchise, front office, and whoever takes over as head coach.

Convincing LeBron James to return should be the Lakers' top priority this summer. After that, they must improve their roster around him and Anthony Davis. LA did not have enough size, shooting, or defense to compete with the best teams in the West.

The Lakers are about to hire their seventh head coach since Phil Jackson’s departure in 2011. They keep repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst called out the franchise on a recent episode of the Rich Eisen Show.

The Lakers are unwilling to pay top dollar for a coach

Windhorst made note that the head coaching job in LA is not as prestigious as it seems. The Lakers may be the most popular franchise, but they are unwilling to pay the market rate for a top head coach. That price has risen in recent years with championship head coaches getting over $10 million per season. LA was paying Darvin Ham half of that.

Fans cannot expect the Lakers to hire Mike Budenholzer for $5 million per season with the top coaches making three times that salary. Ownership must open their wallets if they plan on hiring a marquee name. If not, they will be searching in a lower tier, which has burned them in recent years.

The Lakers do not give their head coach enough power

Windhorst’s biggest complaint about being the head coach for the purple and gold was the leader's lack of power. See his telling quote below.

"I’ve described being the coach of the Lakers right now like being the Vice President because you are going to be third or fourth in charge at best. It is a great sounding job and you get to fly on a nice plane and you get great restaurant reservations, but you are not paid that much relatively, and you often get blamed for stuff."

It was not Darvin Ham’s fault that he only had five trusted options in the playoffs. He was also forced to play four guards in his eight-man rotation, which left the Lakers problematically small or lacking shooting. Ham was blamed, but it was Rob Pelinka who built the roster. LA needed upgrades, but did not acquire them.

The Lakers must give their next head coach more say in personnel decisions and trust him with more responsibility. That is easier if they land a top head coach, which returns us to problem number one.

LA needs to avoid these mistakes now more than ever. LeBron turns 40 in December, and it is now or never for this core. Finding the right head coach and a roster that suits him is massive if the Lakers want to contend next season.

Brian Windhorst is known for his years spent chronically LeBron James, so he is up on the ins and outs of this situation. Do the Los Angeles Lakers avoid these mistakes and get back into the title race? It seems unlikely but will be fascinating to watch, so please stay tuned.