Coach search already under way

Updated: June 19, 2004, 3:40 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Lakers have contacted Southern California coach Henry Bibby about coaching in Los Angeles next season and are believed to have contacted former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich, ESPN's David Aldridge has learned.

Phil Jackson stepped down as coach of the Lakers on Friday.

Reached by telephone Friday afternoon, Bibby told Aldridge, "I'm at USC right now, and I'm here. I'm not at liberty to comment on anything right now."

A spokesman for Buss said he would not have any public comment "for the foreseeable future."

Bibby, 53, has coached at USC for eight seasons, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2001.

He played in the NBA for nine seasons. He was on the New York Knicks' championship team as a rookie in 1973 and was the starting point guard on the 1976-77 Philadelphia 76ers team that lost in the NBA Finals to the Portland Trail Blazers. Bibby coached in the U.S. Basketball League, and his 1989 Tulsa Fast Breakers won the Continental Basketball Association title.

He is the father of Sacramento Kings point guard Mike Bibby.

Tomjanovich, who resigned as Rockets head coach during the 2002-03 season after being diagnosed with cancer, is under contract to Houston for two more years.

Other potential candidates: Former Seattle SuperSonics and Milwaukee Bucks coach George Karl, and current Lakers assistants Jim Cleamons and Kurt Rambis. Jackson succeeded Rambis five years ago.

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