One of the major storylines for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2019 NBA offseason was their botched head coaching search.
After parting ways with former head coach Luke Walton, the Lakers looked to former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue and Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams as two main candidates. But once Williams went to the Phoenix Suns and the Lakers and Lue couldn’t agree to contract terms, they reset their search and quickly landing on former Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel.
The narrative that began spilling out was the Lakers wanted Williams the most out of anyone, but he spurned the Lakers in order to choose the Suns. And while there was no evidence of this, it helped to frame a narrative the Lakers simply couldn’t do anything right.
Monty Williams said the Lakers did not make him an offer, but called them very “gracious” in the process. Said he enjoyed meeting with Jeanie Buss and others in the organization, but the Suns gave him a wonderful opportunity and he took it.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) November 12, 2019
This directly contradicts reports from the time of the coaching search, namely one in which the Lakers were prepared to move towards Williams when he took the Suns job:
“They were ready to move toward Monty Williams. I think the Lakers never really took seriously the possibility he was going to take that Suns job and he did. I know it surprised them.”
This is all in the past now because it seems both the Lakers and Suns got the head coaches they wanted and both have been doing great jobs in Year 1.
Vogel has shown a level of competency that Lakers head coaches haven’t shown since the Phil Jackson era while Williams appears to be changing the culture entirely with the Suns.
Under Williams, the Suns are off to one of their best starts in seasons and already have huge wins over the Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz, and Philadelphia 76ers — something that many thought wouldn’t be possible for a ‘lottery-bound’ team.
The Lakers are also off to their best start in a decade and that’s in small part due to the work Vogel has done defensively as well as with keeping rotations constantly updated to match who’s playing the team’s best basketball.