Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri conducted his exit interview on Tuesday morning. While he talked about his team's performance this season, Ujiri didn't hesitate to take a slight jab at the Los Angeles Lakers, who reportedly are after the Raptors' current head coach Nick Nurse.
Ujiri said that the Lakers hadn't contacted him for a potential interview with their head coach.
"No team has contacted me. And I see all the stuff that you guys see. I dream like they dream. I want Messi. I want Renaldo. I want Kobe Bryant. So they can keep dreaming. I dream too." Ujiri said.
Nick Nurse responds
Nurse, who has been at the Raptors' helm for four years now, also shut down the rumors last Monday morning when he met with the media. The one-time champion said he had no idea where all the rumors were coming from.
"I don't know where that stuff comes from, and I'm focused on coaching this team," Nurse said.
To give a quick brief, it was The Atheltic's Shams Charania who published a story in April about the Lakers drawing interest in Nurse. Charania said that the only way the Lakers can approach Nurse is to receive permission from Ujiri and engage in a trade if Nurse was indeed interested. But as mentioned above, Unjiri debunked this premise and said that no team had contacted him.
One detail to point out - both Shams, who published the story, and Nurse, are Klutch clients.
The latest on the Lakers' coaching search
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday's edition of "NBA Today" that the Lakers are turning to former head coach and champion Phil Jackson for guidance on proceeding with their ongoing coaching search.
If you now connect the dots, it makes sense why Nurse's name has been mentioned with the Lakers over the past month, as he has been well-connected with Jackson for quite some time now.
But so far, Los Angeles has reportedly only asked the Milwaukee Bucks' permission to interview their current assistant coach Darvin Ham. Aside from Ham, former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, current Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder and Philadelphia 76ers' Doc Rivers are also reportedly on the Lakers' interest list.
Coches with shinny names or potential?
It will be interesting what direction the Lakers eventually take in hiring their 27th franchise coach. Will they go after the ones with already a well-established name like Rivers or even Snyder? Or pick an assistant longing for a head-coaching gig like their rivals, the Boston Celtics, did with Ime Udoka?
Whoever they go for, L.A. must absolutely nail their coaching search because their offseason decision hinges on their first significant move this summer.