Last month, the Los Angeles Lakers announced the firing of head coach, Luke Walton after 3 seasons.
Despite adding LeBron James to the roster this past season, the former Warriors assistant could not make the playoffs during his tenure, recording a 98-148 record.
“We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the last three years,” said Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka. “We wish Luke and his family the best of luck moving forward.”
“I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers,” said Walton in a statement. “This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family.”
“That’s tough for any coach to be able to meld all that,” FS1’s Ric Bucher told Scoop B Radio.
“They put Luke [Walton] in position to fail,” NBA Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley told me recently.
“You can’t be in the middle, you got to be trying to develop those young guys or you got to be trying to win in the [NBA] playoffs. They put [Luke] in a bad situation and it’s unfortunate.”
It is believed that Ty Lue is a leading candidate to replace Walton because of ties to LeBron James.
Lue took over mid-season to lead the James and the Cavaliers to the franchise’s first NBA title in 2016. The former Laker guided the team to 2 straight NBA Finals after that, both swift losses to the Warriors.
His familiarity with James is certainly an asset, who was seen by some as a disruptive force on the Lakers this past season. James has publicly said he has “nothing but respect” for Lue.
“He put us in position to win, he put us in position to succeed,” James said. “And more importantly, he gave—all the onus was on the players. He gave us the responsibility to go out and do what we needed to do to win ball games. And that led us to—while he was at the helm—three Eastern Conference Finals, three Finals, one championship.”
Monty Williams is also a leading candidate.
Williams is from the DMV-area, as is Kevin Durant, a player that the Lakers have on the top of their list to recruit this summer in free agency.
Durant signed a two-year, $61.5 million contract with the Warriors and has the option to opt out ahead of the 2019-20 season, per Spotrac.
If Durant were to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers next offseason, it would leave them with a minimum of two years to play together.
Williams also used to coach Anthony Davis when he was the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Lakers are still very much interested in trading for Anthony Davis. However, in order for that to happen, the New Orleans Pelicans would still need to agree to agree to a trade.
That didn’t go so well at the NBA’s trading deadline on February 7th.
There are some who think that the New Orleans Pelicans’ hiring of David Griffin lends some hope that the Pelicans will at least be more sensible when it comes to talking trades with the Los Angeles Lakers.
That said, acquiring Davis still isn’t guaranteed.
Jason Kidd has also been interviewed.
Kidd posted a 139–152 record in his 291 games coached in Milwaukee before he was fired last season.
Before Milwaukee, Kidd led the Brooklyn Nets to a 44-38 record and a second-round appearance in the NBA Playoffs.
Mark Jackson has also been a person of Lakers interest in the past, as reported by FS1’s Chris Broussard back in the fall.
Jackson was one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. That brilliance translated to the NBA when he went from the television booth to coaching sidelines.
Jackson was named head coach of the Golden State Warriors on June 6, 2011, the first head coach hired by new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
In three seasons, Jackson, 54, went 121-109 and developed All Stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Jackson was fired in 2014, despite leading the dubs to consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in over 20 years with the Warriors.
The following season, current Warriors head coach Steve Kerr guided the Warriors to their first NBA title in 40 years.