After the Los Angeles Lakers parted ways with head coach Byron Scott last week, General Manager Mitch Kupchak claimed the coaching search wouldn’t be a long process like it was before they hired Scott back in 2014.
With the search of a new head coach underway, the team has compiled a long list of candidates with a few names at the top. All indications have pointed to Luke Walton being the team’s top choice for the coaching vacancy in Los Angeles with many seeming to believe he’s the best man for the job.
Earlier this week, Mychal Thompson, former Laker and father of Klay Thompson, talked about Walton’s impact on Golden State Warriors’ players on his radio show, ESPN’s Thompson and Trudell. Thompson believes Walton is the ideal candidate for the Lakers saying the following about the current Warriors assistant coach, via Lakerholicz transcription:
Thompson: I love Luke Walton. I think he’s perfect for this team. From what I understand, he worked well with the Warriors up there when he had his opportunity [and went] 39-4. The players loved him. The players identified with him.
Thompson also talked about what his son Klay has told him about Luke’s short stint as the interim head coach while Steve Kerr was dealing with complications from offseason back surgery:
Trudell: What did Klay say about Luke?
Thompson: He made the right adjustments, used the right tone as far as speaking with his players and motivating his players. He made the right moves. They believed in him a lot, just as much as Steve Kerr. So the players, they endorsed him. They said, “This guy knows what he’s doing.” He’s a good coach and he’s young, he communicates with young guys, he understands young guys. He will bring a new system here a lot like what the Warriors employ up there.
I just think it’s a perfect fit. I get so sick and tired of people telling us, “With all that talent he’s supposed to win.” If you’re going to discount what Luke did as a coach, are you going to discount what John Wooden did? What Pat Riley did? Red Auerbach? Didn’t they have talent? You can’t win without talent.
Despite the lack of experience, Walton is widely considered the most sought-after coach in the NBA. Walton will have his fair share of offers with a number of different teams rumored to be interested in his services, but the Lakers brass will likely do everything within their power to convince to come back to Los Angeles.
Walton is rumored to be on the team’s short list of candidates along with Ettore Messina of the San Antonio Spurs. If Walton passes on the opportunity to become the team’s head coach, the Lakers may elect to go all in on Messina.
The Lakers hope to have a new head coach in place before the NBA Draft on June 23. Other notable names mentioned as candidates for the coaching vacancy include David Blatt, Jeff Van Gundy, Doug Collins, Jay Wright, Kevin Ollie and Mark Jackson.