The Los Angeles Lakers’ search for a new head coach is less than a day old, but it’s already picking up steam, and fast.
With the news of the team electing not to pick up the team option on Byron Scott’s contract for next season, fans immediately began speculating who his replacement may be. The most popular of those names? Luke Walton.
It turns out that there’s chatter amongst the NBA that shares a similar sentiment.
On Monday’s edition of Thompson and Trudell on ESPN radio in Los Angeles, they played a sound clip (about the 8:30 mark) of Chris Broussard earlier stating what he is hearing regarding Walton and the Lakers.
“I talked to several people last night who said, ‘[Los Angeles] must know they can get Luke Walton. They must have something in place with Luke Walton.'”
Broussard added that a lot of people believe the team will hire someone with previous ties to the Lakers. He also added that he does not believe that Los Angeles has spoken to Walton yet about the position because they have not received permission to do so, but they will soon.
Walton of course spent the vast majority of his NBA playing career with the Lakers, winning two championships with the organization in 2009 and 2010. He is now an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, who set the NBA record this season with 73 wins.
Walton played a major part in that, filling in for Steve Kerr while the latter recovered from offseason back surgery. With Walton at the helm, the Warriors got off to a blazing start, winning their first 24 games en route to a 39-4 record before Kerr returned.
There are a lot of promising candidates currently out on the coaching market, but the 36-year-old Walton appears to be at the top of the list for a number of teams. On the surface, it appears to be a perfect fit for a rebuilding Lakers team.
General manager Mitch Kupchak stated in an interview with Time Warner Cable SportsNet that he does not expect this process to drag on and wants to complete it in a timely manner, unlike last time. Will it end up in a return home for Walton? Only time will tell. Either way, fans should be encouraged in the direction that the front office is taking.