While Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has received public support from owner Jeanie Buss, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, his tenure with the franchise could be coming to an abrupt end.
With the Lakers’ playoff drought extended to a sixth straight season, the expectation is Johnson will part ways with Walton, a head coach he did not hire. Rumblings of Johnson and Pelinka wishing to hire their own coach date back to last year.
Johnson’s fiery meeting with Walton early in the season sparked speculation that the third-year head coach could be on shaky footing if the team failed to right the ship. The Lakers did manage to improve, but ultimately had their season washed away by a rash of injuries.
Amid speculation of a forthcoming change has been the Lakers reported interest in Jason Kidd. Without specifically addressing his potential candidacy, Kidd spoke highly of the organization while also praising Walton during an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump,” via Rachel Nichols:
“What Luke’s done in L.A. with all the injuries and everything that’s gone on, I think he’s done an incredible job. They have a coach, so we’ll wait until the season is over to see what opportunities come about. … I think when you look at the Lakers as a whole, it’s a franchise that is one of the best in the world. Not just in the NBA, but the world. And so if you ever have the opportunity to wear the purple and gold, you can’t turn that down as a coach or a player. Because they’re all about championships. They have a process, they had a young team, and then LeBron comes and kind of sped up things. He wants to win now. But I think it takes time. Again, Luke was doing a great job at coaching those young guys and LeBron in the first year.”
If not the Lakers, it’s believed Kidd could return to his alma mater to coach the University of California men’s basketball team. While Kidd put together a Hall-of-Fame career on the court, his coaching history leaves plenty to be desired.
His best season was as a rookie head coach in 2013-14, when Kidd helped guide the Brooklyn Nets to a 44-38 record and trip to the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Kidd then began coaching the Milwaukee Bucks the following season before getting fired 45 games into the 2017-18 campaign.
The biggest indictment on Kidd is his struggles with a Bucks roster that is led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and now holds the best record in the NBA.