Are the Los Angeles Lakers preparing to walk away from Luke Walton as their head coach? The question is being raised as there is a report stating that as many as 10 NBA head coaching jobs may be available in the coming months.
With NBA teams looking towards the trade deadline, quietly the coaching hot seat is warming up. According to the New York Daily Post, that list includes Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Luke Walton. It is one of several signs that the Lakers are currently pondering the future of Walton and his coaching staff.
Luke Walton accepted the Lakers’ job in the summer of 2016, much to the chagrin of his father, NBA legend Bill Walton. The elder Walton wanted his son remain with the Golden State Warriors, whom he was working with as an assistant coach. Bill Walton did not believe that the Lakers had presented an ideal situation (courtesy of insidesocal.com) for his son Luke as the Warriors had.
“Don’t change jobs for money. Leave a job because it’s a bad job. If you have a good job and you’re in a great situation as Luke is, you got Steve Kerr, you got all these beautiful players and California and the Bay Area. That’s fantastic. With all that being said….”
Those comments by Bill Walton came before Luke Walton agreed to take the Lakers’ job. Also, one year before the Lakers were entertaining the idea of taking guard Lonzo Ball in the NBA draft.
Expectations rose high once the Lakers took Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA draft. The Lakers added Ball and Utah Utes’ forward Kyle Kuzma in the first round of the draft. It was the hope that both players become part of a young nucleus for the Lakers.
While few saw a young Los Angeles Lakers’ team as a threat to the Warriors, some inside of the organization believed that the Lakers could compete for a playoff berth. The results have not gone according to plans as the Lakers are facing a troubling future.
Lonzo Ball has not completely flourished under Luke Walton’s guidance. The Los Angeles Lakers are near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. What is worse, the Boston Celtics will receive the Lakers’ pick in the upcoming draft if it falls between Nos. 2-5. As things are currently looking, the Lakers would be selecting fifth.
Luke Walton has also dealt with a the huge distraction of LaVar Ball, the father of his young point guard. LaVar Ball recently stated in an interview with ESPN that he feels Walton has lost his young Lakers’ team.
The elder Ball’s sentiments were later refuted by Lakers’ forward Kyle Kuzma. Also, the Lakers’ front office has backed Luke Walton. However, the damage may have already been done.
— First Take (@FirstTake) January 15, 2018
While there has not been any signs of infighting on the Lakers, there are some issues.
Some of those issues stem from a disagreement in philosophy between Lakers’ Luke Walton and the father of his prized rookie. Other problems comes from the conversation of NBA trade rumors surrounding the Lakers.
Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., and Luol Deng have all been mentioned in NBA trade rumors involving the Los Angeles Lakers. All of them can be traded away, along with Brook Lopez prior to the trade deadline.
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) January 22, 2018
One thing to factor, however, is the fact that the Lakers may not own their top draft pick. The search for having an additional first-rounder becomes paramount for the Lakers.
That provides enough distractions for Luke Walton to contend with as he is probably coaching for his job.
One name to watch is Mark Jackson. If the Los Angeles Lakers decide to part ways with Luke Walton before or after the NBA season, Jackson could get some heavy consideration for the position of Lakers’ head coach.
It could be determined that the young Los Angeles Lakers need a veteran coach to get them to the next step. Mark Jackson is one of those head coaching candidates, who fit that description.