Juwan Howard turns down Lakers, despite obvious connections

Juwan Howard to stay at Michigan, despite having connections within the Los Angeles Lakers.

Though he could have been the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, Juwan Howard has decided to stay in Ann Arbor as the face of his alma mater’s Michigan basketball program.

The Lakers are still looking to replace their former head coach Frank Vogel. While one would think Howard will eventually make the jump from the Big Ten to the NBA, now is not the right time for him. His sons Jace and Jett are on the Wolverines men’s basketball team. Jace has played for the Wolverines the last two seasons, while Jett committed to play for his father back in November.

Once his sons graduate, it might be the right time for Howard to pursue an NBA opportunity.

It should be noted that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is a former college teammate of Howard’s from the Fab Five days. The Michigan head coach also played with the Lakers’ best player LeBron James when they were members of the Miami Heat franchise nearly a decade ago.

Juwan Howard to stay at Michigan, despite Los Angeles Lakers connections

Though Howard has done a great job since taking over at his alma mater, one would think another NBA opening may be on the horizon for him eventually. While he will never be able to get back the opportunity of being able to coach his sons at their alma mater, Howard is well-respected in the coaching profession. The Boston Celtics had interest in him before hiring Ime Udoka last summer.

To be frank, the Lakers are not an ideal first NBA head-coaching opportunity for an on-the-rise candidate such as Howard. The Lakers have been a sub-.500 team for the better part of a decade, even since signing James in his free agency. Pelinka may be in good standing with the organization by being Kobe Bryant’s former agent and all, but would Howard want to coach for Team LeBron?

Together, James and Howard may have won two NBA Finals in Miami, but playing in the same lineup with a superstar in his prime and having to coach the same superstar in the twilight of his career are two totally separate entities. The Lakers could be the right place for him several years down the line, but why would Howard want to walk away from a dream job like the Michigan gig?

If the Lakers did hire Howard only to fire him three years later, anticipate the open-palmed slap.

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