Even before the 2018-19 NBA season started, rumors and speculations have already been swirling around Coach Luke Walton and his future with the Los Angeles Lakers. The speculations have somewhat died down when Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said that Walton still has the full support of the organization. However, now that the Lakers are currently out of the playoff race in the deep Western Conference, the rumors about Walton’s potential departure from Los Angeles heated up once again.
ESPN senior writer Jackie MacMullan recently revealed on the Brian Windhorst & the Hoop Collective podcast that some people from LeBron James’ camp are urging the Lakers to fire Luke Walton as their head coach. Meanwhile, Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report said on the Bucher and Friends podcast that Jason Kidd is planning to resume his coaching job. If the Lakers decide to part ways with Walton, Kidd is reportedly emerging as the “favorite” to replace him as the new Lakers head coach.
“In the case of Jason and the Lakers, I figured it was a matter of Jason letting them know he was interested, and the Lakers saying, ‘Thanks, we’ll get back to you.’ Well, now sources are saying that the Lakers have actually gotten back to him and this has gone to the next level,” Bucher said, as transcribed by Lakers Nation. “And if the Lakers do make a move on Luke, which based on all of the rumblings could happen sooner rather than later, Kidd appears to be very much in the mix and possibly is even the favorite.”
Jason Kidd started his coaching career with the Brooklyn Nets in 2013 where he helped them reach the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs 2014. During the 2014 NBA offseason, the Milwaukee Bucks secured Kidd’s coaching rights from the Nets in exchange for two second-round picks. Kidd mentored the Bucks for three full years before they fired him in the middle of the 2017-18 NBA season.
Coach Luke Walton may have gained support from Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, but the latter has made it clear that he will let Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson decide on basketball matters. Johnson said earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season that Walton will remain as their head coach unless something “drastic” happens. Johnson didn’t give any further details regarding what type of situations he considers “drastic.”
The rumors about Luke Walton’s future in Los Angeles won’t stop until the Lakers return to the winning column and succeed to end their playoff drought. However, Walton shouldn’t be taking all the blame for their recent struggle as the Lakers are currently playing without some of their core players, including LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, and Lonzo Ball.