Now three weeks removed the Los Angeles Lakers announcing a mutual separation with Luke Walton, the team remains in search of their next head coach. Thus far, Tyronn Lue, Monty Williams, Jason Kidd and Juwan Howard have interviewed for the position.
Of the group, Lue and Williams are believed to be at the center of the Lakers’ focus. Both interviewed twice with the team, which included involvement from a slew of executives.
Although Lue hasn’t generated much reported interest from other teams, Williams has emerged as a leading candidate for the Phoenix Suns head coach vacancy. Despite that, Williams remains part of the picture for the Lakers.
It’s unclear when the team might extend an offer to Lue or Williams, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi reiterated they are the two frontrunners and members of the Lakers front office are split on the two, via SportsCenter:
“Those are the two candidates that the Lakers are planning to choose from to make an offer to. There are so many people in that Laker organization involved in this decision-making process. From ownership into senior management, general manager Rob Pelinka. There are cases being made on both sides: for Ty Lue and for Monty Williams. I think the sense in L.A. is, Ty Lue will take that job if offered. But Monty Williams, they’re in a bit of a competition with the Suns. He will seriously consider that job.”
After Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka met individually with Lue and Williams, second interviews reportedly grew to include owner Jeanie Buss, assistant general manager and director of scouting Jesse Buss, head of the South Bay affiliate Joey Buss, chief operating officer Tim Harris, senior advisor Kurt Rambis and director of special projects Linda Rambis.
Linda’s involvement earned the Lakers plenty of public criticism. Though, it should not have come as much of a surprise considering her longstanding friendship and business relationship with Jeanie.
As for the coaching candidates, the Lakers and Lue and Williams were said to be equally impressed with one another. It’s unclear who may hold a slight edge, but Lue having prior history with LeBron James certainly is a significant boon in his favor.
Lue also has his own ties to the Lakers, having won two championships with the team during his playing career.