John Calipari, Kevin Ollie reportedly top candidates for new Lakers coach

USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers reportedly want to "make a splash" with their coaching hire and have looked at two top college coaches to replace Mike D'Antoni.

The Los Angeles Lakers are looking for a new coach after Mike D'Antoni resigned on Wednesday, and according to ESPN, they're pursuing both coaches from this year's NCAA Championship.

The Los Angeles Lakers plan a drawn-out and exhaustive search to replace coach Mike D'Antoni, but sources close to the process insist that they hope to "make a splash" with their eventual hire.

To that end, sources say, Lakers officials intend to reach out to two of the biggest names in the college game -- UConn's Kevin Ollie and Kentucky's John Calipari -- to at least gauge their interest in the job.

Calipari has been linked to the Lakers job ever since the weekend of the Final Four, when former Kentucky player Rex Chapman tweeted that after the championship game, Calipari to the Lakers was a "done deal." Of course, Chapman had no idea what he was talking about and later admitted that. However, now that the Lakers actually have an opening, this is a different circumstance.

Calipari has thrived as a college coach with UMass, Memphis and Kentucky, taking the latter to three final fours in the last four years. However, he struggled as the coach of the New Jersey Nets for three seasons in the 1990s. For his part, Calipari is denying any interest with the Lakers.

Ollie, who won the NCAA Tournament with Connecticut this year, has only been a head coach for two seasons. However, he had a lengthy NBA career that spanned from 1997 to 2010, and he served as an assistant under Jim Calhoun at UConn.

The position is open after Mike D'Antoni resigned Wednesday. D'Antoni reportedly wanted the Lakers to guarantee his 2015-16 option and was uncomfortable being a lame-duck coach next season.

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