When the Los Angeles Lakers officially began their head coaching search, former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue and Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Monty Williams were considered the frontrunners.
And after interviewing four candidates including Miami Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard and former Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, they eventually met with the frontrunners twice.
As the Lakers reportedly were split on offering the job to one of them, Williams agreed to a five-year deal to become the Phoenix Suns head coach.
With the Lakers in current negotiations with Lue now, it appears they were ‘surprised’ by Williams’ decision, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
“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.”
Since Los Angeles reportedly did not make an offer after the two interviews, Williams essentially made the decision for them.
As Williams has an opportunity to grow with Phoenix’s young core, Lue is expected to reunite with LeBron James in Los Angeles. After winning one championship in three consecutive NBA Finals appearances, Lue and James are hoping to bring that type of success back to the storied franchise.
If Lue ultimately accepts the team’s head coaching job, his first move could be hiring former Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel as his lead assistant coach — who has been praised for his defensive schemes.