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NBA Rumors: Lakers Eyeing LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony

The Lakers are delaying their coaching search in order to appease the star free agents they’re pursuing… Donald Sterling backtracks… Derek Fisher’s staff forming.

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Lakers after LeBron James

The slow pace of the Lakers’ coaching search that began April 30 when Mike D’Antoni resigned has been timed deliberately with the upcoming free agency period in the NBA, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Specifically, the idea that the Lakers could beat the odds and land the likes of the Heat’s LeBron James, the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony or any of the other superstars who may be free agents on July 1 has led the Lakers to plod through their process so as to not limit their potential options. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the search.

via Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers are always going to go after the best players in the league. That’s their approach to putting together a team. That’s why they nearly had Chris Paul in a trade and why they went after Dwight Howard without any guarantee that he’d stay with the team long-term. Unlike other franchises that try to rebuild through the draft and find their next star player that way, the Lakers are always going to be confident in their ability to go out and land one via trade or free agency because of their history and willingness to spend.

Landing LeBron James is a dream, but if there’s any chance at all of landing a player of his stature, they’re going to at least pursue it.

The chances of landing James likely went way down with Kobe Bryant signed his monster two-year extension. If they had a little bit more financial flexibility to bring in another star player, perhaps they would have had a better shot.

There are appeals that come with playing in Los Angeles; however, James is an iconic star, the kind who is going to get the same amount of media attention and sponsorship deals no matter where he plays. The most important thing for him is being in a position where he can compete for a championship. Doing so with the Lakers would be a lot more difficult than some of his other options in free agency.

Anthony on the other hand is much more obtainable, especially now that the Lakers have parted ways with Mike D’Antoni, who clashed with Anthony during his tenure as the Knicks head coach. He has a close relationship with Kobe Bryant and the Knicks are a year away from having the ability to go after anyone of substance in free agency.

The Lakers have conducted an opening round of interviews, talking to the likes of Byron Scott, Lionel Hollins and Mike Dunleavy Sr. most notably. With only one other head coaching opening in the league, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Lakers can afford to wait as their choice will likely be available even deep into free agency.

Donald Sterling backtracks

In a reversal, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling will pursue a $1 billion federal lawsuit against the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver, and withdraw his support for the sale of the team negotiated by his wife.

“I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights,” Sterling said Monday in a letter circulated widely among those involved in the sale and obtained by ESPN.com. “While my position may not be popular, I believe that my rights to privacy and the preservation of my rights to due process should not be trampled.”

Sterling’s attorney Max Blecher earlier told ESPN.com in an email, “The deal is off.”

via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN

It always seemed like Sterling’s departure was too good to be true. During NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s NBA Finals media availability he seemed a bit concerned about the lawsuit and the fact that it hasn’t been dropped yet.

The Sterling Trust Fund did not need Donald’s signature in order to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, as his estranged wife Shelly has been made the sole trustee. She has also indemnified the NBA from any lawsuits, so in essence Donald is suing himself.

The NBA is expected to move forward with the sale of the team to Ballmer, but additional steps are required before he can officially take over. Donald’s options to try and stop that are extremely limited at this point. He has to get Shelly’s decision to sell the team ruled illegal in probate court, but has yet to initiate the process.

Donald is rumored to be battling the early stages of Alzheimer’s, which could be playing a part in his flip flopping on accepting the league’s ruling and selling the team.

Candidates to join Fisher’s staff

via Twitter

The trend is clear here. Fisher is going to fill his staff with other players who played for Phil Jackson and have an understanding of the triangle offense.

As a first time head coach, it’s going to be important for Fisher to have a good mixture of experienced coaches like Cartwright and Rambis to help show him the ropes of being a head coach and also young guys like Fox and Walton to connect with the players and help with player development.

Expect to hear Jim Cleamons and Frank Hamblen’s names to come up as well, due to their ties and long history with Jackson.

Yannis Koutroupis is Basketball Insiders' Managing Site Editor and Senior Writer. He has been covering the NBA and NCAA for seven years.

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