When the Los Angeles Lakers inevitably fire Frank Vogel into the sun shortly after the conclusion of the 2021-22 NBA season, there are surely going to be a wide variety of names rumored to replace him, from the already-leaked Doc Rivers and Quin Snyder, to others that have yet to come to light.
One name that won’t be seriously considered, however, is Lakers senior basketball advisor and Basketball Rasputin, Kurt Rambis. But according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, that’s not because he has one of the worst NBA head coaching resumes of all time.
No. Nothing that simple. It’s because he’s too important to the Lakers’ front office, somehow (emphasis mine):
There will certainly be other candidates to replace Vogel. Multiple league figures contacted by B/R referenced the possibility that Lakers senior basketball adviser Kurt Rambis returns to the sidelines after several previous coaching stops in the league, including an interim stint as Los Angeles’ head coach. However, Rambis is said to be an integral figure in the front office and unlikely to resume a coaching role.
This actually makes a lot of sense, especially when considering that Rambis, his wife Linda, and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka are all said to not be going anywhere and that Kurt specifically remains “incredibly influential” in the team’s decision-making at the highest levels of the organization. When Rambis is basically in charge of the Lakers, why would he take a job that requires more hours and more work, but has less power and comes with more public accountability?
After all, the Rambii didn’t assemble this level of sway by having a job title that people can point to actual expectations for. They got it by lurking in the background with intentionally nebulous titles that aren’t even fully understood within the organization, and thus can’t be pointed to for culpability in any of the team’s decisions, with semi-willing meat shields like Pelinka and Vogel in the way to absorb any blame for any shortcomings the team experiences.
So with that being the case, it shouldn’t be surprising that Rambis isn’t going to take the Lakers coaching reigns (again). As easy as it is to speculate and joke about for anonymous people in conversations like the ones Fischer outlines, Rambis has much more long-term job security if he remains in the shadows, sitting behind whoever the next Lakers coach is and judging them, rather than taking the seat himself.
Maybe that’s not exactly the news Lakers fans want to hear, but honestly, it’s probably better — at least in the short term — than the prospects of Rambis actually coaching. Because there is almost no chance the next coach, no matter how polarizing, has a worse coaching resume than he does. At least he’s won a title as Shadow GM.