Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse Is Reportedly Among Lakers “Top Targets” to Replace Frank Vogel
As reports indicated last week, it’s only a matter of time before the Los Angeles Lakers part ways with head coach Frank Vogel. Notable names like Utah’s Quinn Snyder and Philly’s Doc Rivers have already been named as rumored targets in the Lakers’ eventual search, and The Athletic’s Shams Charania added another huge name into this mix on Monday.
After reiterating that a decision to move on from Vogel is imminent, Charania pointed toward Toronto Raptors’ leading man Nick Nurse as someone LA has their eye on.
Nurse, who led the Raptors to a championship in 2019, signed a multiyear contract extension in 2020 and has two years left on his deal. It’s unclear whether he will be attainable or whether he would have interest, but the Lakers are hoping the former Coach of the Year is an option with the allure of coaching James and Davis and the appeal of the Los Angeles market. To acquire Nurse, the Lakers would need to receive permission from the Raptors and likely engage them on a prospective trade.
Should we be surprised one of the most wealthy and prestigious organizations in the NBA wants to target one of the best young coaches in the NBA? Absolutely not, but the mere possibility of prying Nurse away from the Raptors is very interesting.
Nurse rose up the coaching ranks with the organization as they bulldozed their way to their first-ever NBA title in 2019. Now viewed as one of the top minds in the game, he would be a tremendous loss for the Raptors, who surprised the league yet again by jumping the Bulls into the East’s 5th seed this season. Losing a coach of that caliber could have quite the impact on an organization, especially one that has been teetering with the idea of blowing it up in recent years.
While I don’t expect the Raptors to go full-blown tank mode moving forward, they do have a fascinating young talent in Scottie Barnes to reconstruct the roster around. If Nurse were to leave, perhaps that would open a more obvious window for front office leader Masai Ujiri to mix things up. Who is to say that doesn’t lead to several interesting talents hitting the trade market, as well as the Raptors taking a step back in a competitive East for a season?
To be sure, I’m dancing with a bunch of hypotheticals here. I do think Toronto would do absolutely everything it can to keep Nurse, and we also know it’s only a matter of time before a handful of other names on the Lakers’ list leak out. But, as we discussed when the initial Vogel news broke, these kinds of coaching changes can always be the first domino to fall in bigger organizational change.