lebron james & carmelo anthony*With a 27-55 season behind them, the Los Angeles Lakers have been more than willing to explore all available options for bringing in players that will bring the team back to its glory days.

So much so that the Lakers are putting the search for a new coach on hold as it looks beyond the West coast. USA Today reports the team is watching this year’s NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs with an eye to the future. A person with knowledge of the situation told the publication that the slow search for a new Lakers coach has been timed deliberately with the upcoming free agency period in the NBA that kicks off July 1.

Speculation about who the Lakers ultimately end up with has triggered a lot of speculation, with NBA all-stars like the Heat’s LeBron James, and the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony thrown in to the mix in light of them and many other superstars becoming free agents soon. As a result, according to a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the search, efforts to find a suitable coach have slowed down in favor of searching for quality talent.

Thus far, the Lakers have interviewed six former head coaches: Byron Scott (New Orleans Hornets, New Jersey Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers), Lionel Hollins (Memphis Grizzlies), Mike Dunleavy (Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers), Kurt Rambis (Minnesota Timberwolves), George Karl (Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Seattle SuperSonics, Bucks, Denver Nuggets) and Alvin Gentry (Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Clippers, Phoenix Suns).

As it stands now, a new coach for the Lakers may not be selected until July. In the meantime, the team doesn’t seem too concerned with having the new coach in place for the June 26 draft. The Lakers are scheduled to pick seventh overall. in which they’ll pick seventh overall. And while they’re not willing to let a star player pick the coach, keeping the vacancy open would allow any possible players who sign with them to offer some input into the process.

For more about the Lakers search for a new coach and players, click here.