While the regular season still has another 10 games to go and Luke Walton is still officially the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, his expected departure has set off the rumor mill about a potential replacement and new reports indicate there could be a Basketball Hall of Famer in contention — Jason Kidd.
As Silver Screen and Roll noted, Kidd’s name has shot to the top of the list of potential coaches for the Lakers next year after the team likely fires Walton. The Lakers have stumbled greatly in the first year of the LeBron James era, failing to surpass last year’s win total despite landing the biggest free agent.
The report pointed out that Kidd would seem to be a logical choice, as he grew close to LeBron James when they played on the 2008 U.S. Men’s National Team together at the Olympics. Kidd, one of the top point guards to play the game, could also serve as a mentor to Lonzo Ball and help with his court vision and shooting problems, Silver Screen and Roll added.
It is not clear just how serious the Los Angeles Lakers might be about hiring Jason Kidd as the next head coach, as several other names have been tossed into the rumor mill. Other reports suggested that the team was interested in luring Doc Rivers away from the Los Angeles Clippers, though the Fansided blog Sir Charles in Charge reported that Rivers is wary about joining a team led by LeBron James, who has a history of clashing with coaches and pushing them out.
Michael Wilbon also said on a recent episode of ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption— per Bleacher Report— that Rivers has been warned that LeBron isn’t interested in being coached at this point in his career.
For his part, Doc Rivers has pushed aside rumors that he could leave the Clippers for the Lakers.
“I’m going nowhere,” Rivers said, as quoted by The San Diego Union-Tribune. “I can tell you that straight and up front. I’m going to be here until [Clippers owner] Steve [Ballmer] says ‘Get out.’ I plan on being here a long time.”
Jason Kidd has not commented on the rumors connecting him to the Los Angeles Lakers, but if it’s true, then the Lakers could have some competition for his services. His name has also been mentioned as a potential candidate for the head coaching job at Cal, which just fired Wyking Jones after two seasons.