The Los Angeles Lakers are reported to be interviewing three potential candidates for their open head coach position created by firing Luke Walton. Tyronn Lue, who coached LeBron James during his final three years in Cleveland, is widely expected to be the favorite.
However, according to the New York Times’ Marc Stein, some coaches around the league think that’s not a certainty, paving the way for a different candidate (76ers assistant Monty Williams) to take the job instead:
What that means so far is interviews for their coaching vacancy in the coming days with Monty Williams of the 76ers; Tyronn Lue, the former Cleveland Cavaliers coach; and the Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard — with a buzz circulating in coaching circles that Williams has a stronger-than-expected shot at the job because some in the Lakers’ organization may fear hiring Lue would be giving LeBron too much control.
That’s not a difficult thing to believe. Lue and LeBron’s relationship is well known and it’s, at least in part, the reason behind his momentum to secure the job.
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has seemed to clash with James and his agent, Rich Paul, before. She reportedly refused to fire Luke Walton to ensure that James would sign with the Lakers. Once LeBron did sign, she was the biggest proponent for keeping Walton on the sidelines. Buss also reportedly contemplated trading LeBron once the trade negotiations for Anthony Davis went awry.
While it’s fair to wonder if giving James everything he wants is a good thing, especially given how the trade deadline went, it’s also most important to have some semblance of chemistry across the organization. The different sectors of the franchise – ownership, management, coaching and players – have rarely been on the same page.
This is going to be a pivotal decision for the Lakers. It is imperative that they make the right one.