First the Suns, now the Lakers: According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Jay Wright is one of the Lakers’ tragets for their fresh head coach opening. Wright is allegedly on the Buss’ shortlist along with Luke Walton, Kevin Ollie, David Blatt, Jeff Van Gundy, and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina.
Fox Sports’ Aaron Torres doesn’t buy that Wright himself is interested:
“Wright’s name has never been hotter in NBA circles, this would actually be the worst possible time for him to leave Villanova. Wright spent all of Final Four week talking about how long it took to build his program the right way, so why step away? That’s especially true in this particular off-season, when it’s likely that a good chunk of Wright’s championship team will return, including leading scorer Josh Hart, and the hero of this year’s Final Four Kris Jenkins.
And if there was any doubt that ‘Nova is as committed to Wright as he is to them, there’s that tiny little $22 million donation that was made to the basketball program. (program or to the school for the arena)
Simply put, Wright isn’t going anywhere.”
Wright’s stock has never been higher, but he’s smart enough not to just jump into the NBA because he can. He seems committed to Villanova fully, and not in the Calapari/Pitino “no way I’m walking away from all of this power and gigantic paycheck” way. He really loves it there. And not to say that he isn’t driven and motivated to be at the top of his field, but I’m not sure Wright needs to be in the NBA to be that (especially in LA).
In addition to those valid points, here’s a less valid one: Wright spent his whole NCAA tourney run (and parade) praising Philadelphia, Philadelphia fans, and the Philadelphia sports teams. He’s a Philly guy, even if you want to play the geographically nitpick. By taking the Lakers job and helping that team get good as quick as possible, he could single-handedly turn the Lakers’ pick that the Sixers own – if it doesn’t convey this year – into a much later pick and slow the building process of the Sixers. Though I doubt Jay Wright gives a flying \\// about any of that.
Kyle: I don’t know. Interest from the Lakers has to be tough for any coach to pass up. But, that $22 million donation is pretty much confirmation that Jay isn’t going anywhere for a little while. He can build an empire on the Main Line if he wants… and watch as Radnor residents freak the fuck out about the increased congestion like they just realized that they moved near a major University. Nova can repeat next year.