As you've probably already heard, coach Rudy T. is about to quit the Lakers, halfway through the season. The national sports media says that this move is health-related (although nothing to do with the cancer he battled a few years ago, thankfully). The official line from the team is only that he's thinking about it.
What the screaming heads (Stephen A. Smith) on Sports Center won't go out on a limb and say, although the more connected local radio hosts know, is that it is a cancer-related decision.
Cancer spelled with a 'K'.
This is the kind of Kancer that had Zen-Buddist and all-around-laid-back-guy Phil Jackson seek therapy to help him deal with it. This is the kind of Kancer that would score 40 one night and then not take a shot in the first half of the next game because he was criticized for not distributing the ball enough. When this Kancer leads the team in scoring this year, they're a .500 club. When he doesn't, they're 4 games over. And he's been out for a couple of weeks, so that's pretty telling.
I'm not going to discount the fact that Rudy T.'s health is not a factor, but he had health considerations when he came on board to do the job. I don't think this is a Rick Marjerus kind of turnaround situation. I believe that he thought he could deal with the Arrogant One, the LA press, the LA fans and the live-by-the-three, die-by-the-three team that management had given him. He thought this was a re-building year (although about half of LA didn't get that memo). He was realistic. He's coached before, he's dealt with press and expectations. He's won two rings as a coach.
This came down to the one reason he came to the job: the star. And now working with the star has turned out to be so horrible that he's willing to put his tail between his legs and slink back out of town. That's also pretty telling.
So in the off season, they'll need a new coach (one of the assistants is the interim head coach for the remainder). But who would want this job? Honestly? Would you coach this team? I wouldn't. It's gone from being one of the marquee franchises in all of sport to a daily soap opera. You've got the playboy chemist who hangs with Hef and has installed a puppet GM. The defacto GM is a surly star who alienates all who come into contact with him and certainly did something untoward with a girl in a Colorado hotel room 20 months ago.
And you can watch it from floor seats that will still run you thousands of greenbacks.