It’s official, Lakers fans. The next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers is indeed Luke Walton. The team announced the hire on Friday night, just minutes after it was first reported by Howard Beck.
The move was foreshadowed earlier today when it was reported that the Lakers meeting with the Warriors assistant had “went well.” It seems that the meeting went well enough for the job to be offered and accepted nearly on the spot.
The 36-year-old Walton has plenty of promise. He led the Warriors to a historic 39-4 start while taking the place of head coach Steve Kerr as he recovered from back surgery. Walton’s youth has the team hoping that he will connect with a young and talented roster, while his reputation as a player can lead to more free agency success.
General manager Mitch Kupchak had the following statement after the hire was made official:
“We’re excited to bring Luke back to Los Angeles, where we feel he’s going to start an outstanding coaching career,” said Kupchak. “He’s one of the brightest young coaching minds in the game and we feel fortunate that he’ll be leading the on-court future of our team.”
Walton will be stepping into a huge role as the lead man of one of the biggest franchises in all sports. But if his work as the lead man early this season in Golden State was any indication, he is ready to step in and perform admirably.
Luke will have a learning curve, to be sure. He is still wildly inexperienced, having served as an assistant for only two seasons. But that inexperience suits well with a developing roster and if the Lakers can use their money to add great, veteran assistants, he should be able to do an even better job.
There is no telling what will happen in the long term, but Lakers fans should be ecstatic for the hire. Luke Walton was the correct choice this summer and after several excruciating seasons, the Lakers have finally made some great decisions.
Welcome back, Luke.