Feb 23, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; ESPN broadcasters Mark Jackson (left), Jeff Van Gundy (center) and Mike Breen during the NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics at Staples Center. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching search has seemingly come down to JJ Redick and James Borrego, Stephen A. Smith has other ideas for the franchise. After striking out on Dan Hurley, the First Take host said on his Stephen A. Smith Show that the Lakers need Redick, but he also mentioned two former colleagues as head coaching possibilities as well.

While Smith acknowledges Redick’s potential as a great NBA head coach, he wouldn’t discuss candidates without including Mark Jackson.

“His last year was 2014,” said Smith. “We are a decade later, and this brother can’t get a coaching job in the NBA, and nobody will tell us why? Because it clearly has nothing to do with his competency or his knowledge about the game of basketball. And for the record, I’m not apologizing about it for anybody. Decisions have to be made, and the business decisions made by ESPN and Walt Disney are their business, but I miss my man, Mark Jackson.

“I miss my man Mark Jackson calling games. He’s a personal friend of mine; I’ve known him for decades. And he’s an outstanding basketball mind. And to see him — could I see him coaching in a market like L.A.? Which, by the way, he lives out there. It would be a beautiful thing. And I’m gonna always wish for Mark Jackson to get another shot to be the coach.

“I want him in one or two places — the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks. And with the job that Tom Thibodeau did, we all know he doesn’t deserve to be out of New York. So, if you’re the Lakers and you’re looking for a coach, I wouldn’t mind Mark Jackson being interviewed as a candidate. That would be something that I think could be a plus.”

But Smith is also not going to leave out Jeff Van Gundy.

“Jeff Van Gundy coached for 11 years in the NBA,” he said. “Jeff Van Gundy took the Knicks to the Finals in ’99. Jeff Van Gundy coached perennial playoff teams. Jeff Van Gundy is another brilliant basketball mind. There are other candidates you can interview. There are other candidates that you can give 10 to 11 million a year, which makes them the sixth-highest paid head coach, and it’s not throwing any shade on that.

“If you’re the Los Angeles Lakers, there’s nothing wrong with that. But you gotta get it together. You certainly gotta be better than what we’re looking at right now. There’s no way around it; it’s a bad look for the Lakers. And none of us need to be shy about that.”

[Stephen A. Smith]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.