NBA grass may not be any greener

Mike Krzyzewski couldn't get Kobe Bryant to Duke for a semester in 1996. He couldn't even get Shaun Livingston to Duke in 2004.

So the prospect of seven years' worth of Kobe in L.A. must sound pretty good about now.

Of course, that would force Coach K to walk away from his Duke empire, where he's essentially bulletproof, so it's hardly a slam dunk that even the most prestigious hot seat in the NBA will manage to lure him away.

There is probably only one job in basketball that could get Krzyzewski to so much as consider making his own leap to the NBA. It also helps the Lakers that there is a massive challenge attached to their offer -- following nine-ringed Phil Jackson onto that hot seat with Bryant apparently hand-picking Coach K to replace the Zenmeister. As a package, all that must intrigue the 57-year-old, who basically has nothing left to accomplish at the NCAA level.

Just the same, all that still might not be enough to do it.

Yet you can't fault the Lakers for trying, just as you can't question Krzyzewski's desire to listen. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has been wanting to broaden the search, and the pool of available coaches at the pro level with the stature to take charge of a team that still could feature Bryant and the trade-seeking Shaquille O'Neal starts and ends with Rudy Tomjanovich. Trying to lure Coach K to the NBA, as Boston and Portland tried in the 1990s, seems so obvious now that it's actually public knowledge.

On the Coach K side, meanwhile, how do you ignore the Lakers if they call? If they call, you at least hear them out. You're obligated.

Will he actually take the job? Vitale, Bilas and Katz know a lot more about the man than I do, but what we all know is that he's the quintessential college coach who has never been especially fond of the NBA way ... and who won't be overwhelmed by NBA coaching money because of what he earns as college hoops' modern-day Wooden.

What I heard Thursday is that, according to well-placed sources in the college game, he didn't sound at all envious (or accepting) of Mike Montgomery's recent decision to leave Stanford for the Golden State Warriors. Which makes it more than odd that Krzyzewski would now agree to make the same jump and take on a task that often tormented Jackson, who had decades of experience dealing with NBA power struggles as a player and a coach.

What I know for sure is that frustration with the evolution of the college game better not be the deciding factor if Krzyzewski decides to liven up this already-crazy summer by accepting Kupchak's offer.

Maddening as it might be to deal with the strictures of the NCAA rule book, and losing players to the NBA draft before they even start classes, daily life with the Laker circus can lead to regular doses of frustration Coach K can scarcely imagine.

Especially if Shaq comes back and Coach K, after ruling his universe for so long, finds himself serving as the Lakers' new Shaq vs. Kobe referee.

Losing Livingston and Luol Deng to the draft could be a pleasant experience by comparison.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. Also, click here to send a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.