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Just 3 days after Magic Johnson sensationally stepped down as the President of Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Lakers, it was announced that Luke Walton and the Lakers had “mutually agreed” to part ways. Almost everyone who knows of the issues surrounding the Lakers this season knew that Walton’s time was coming to an end, with no real idea on who would be stepping into the head coaching role.
A week since that announcement, Walton secured his future as the head coach for the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers are still no closer to announcing their new head coach, with interviews going on with multiple candidates. Here, we look at the 5 top candidates for the Lakers job and the likelihood of these coaches getting the role.
5. Jason Kidd
The former Milwaukee Bucks coach is what we will call the galaxy pick; the one out of the bunch who may have better luck winning the lottery. In saying that, Jason Kidd is still being thrown out there as a possible option for the Lakers. Late in the season, Kidd was one of the front runners for not only the Lakers position, but for the newly vacated job at California, Berkeley.
It now seems likely that Kidd will have neither job, with the Berkeley job taken by Mark Fox. The Lakers are seemingly rather unhappy with Kidd, who was on TV talking about the job recently. The Lakers won’t be interviewing him, and outside of random Lakers fan pages, he isn’t being spoken of. Don’t expect anything out of Kidd, but never say never in the NBA.
4. Mark Jackson
Now we are starting to get into the outside chances here, with the ESPN and ABC analyst having a unique view of the organization. At the midway point of the season, Jackson was the favorite to take Walton’s job if he had been let go prior to the playoffs. Even at the start of April, Jackson was being tossed around as a favorite by ClutchPoints.
Jackson had a relatively successful 3 years at Golden State before being let go for Steve Kerr, going 121-109. Unfortunately for him, it seems that the interest from the Lakers organization isn’t there, with it being reported that Jackson will not be interviewed. His name is still being thrown around, but it is an outside chance at most.
3. Juwan Howard
The third potential coaching candidate to emerge is Juwan Howard, who the Lakers will interview at some point during the playoffs. The current Miami Heat assistant has a unique perspective with LeBron James, as Howard played with LeBron James for 3 years at the Heat. During that time, he won back-to-back championships before retiring when James left the franchise.
While Howard has no head coaching experience, he has a healthy relationship with James and has been within the coaching staff of the Heat for the last 6 years. It’s a risk, but Howard could make it work.
2. Monty Williams
Monty Williams was the other name that was thrown around early after the sacking as a potential replacement for Walton. Williams has history with James as an assistant with Team USA, as well as with trade target Anthony Davis at New Orleans. The current assistant at the Philadelphia 76ers had an interview on Wednesday and according to Hoops Demand, the Lakers liked what they saw. In fact, he may be the top candidate.
The issue here is that if Philadelphia goes past the second round of the playoffs, the 76ers may not let Williams go. In fact, if they let Brown go, he may get first go at the head coaching job. He has head coaching experience, but Williams also has been told to stay away from the Lakers job. Much like Lue, we will wait and see as to whether he heeds that advice.
1. Tyronn Lue
Tyronn Lue seemed to be the early favorite among those within the Lakers organization. We already know about the combination between LeBron James and Lue from their time in Cleveland, where they won a championship together. There were most some disagreements along the way, but James came out after the coach was let go at the start of the season to say that he had “nothing but respect” for him.
While the Lakers want either Lue or the next potential candidate in Monty Williams, it’s been rumored in recent days that Lue has been told not to take the job. In fact, Jorge Sedano of ESPN mentioned Tuesday night that Lue has been sworn away by a close friend of his. Time will tell as to whether Lue heeds this advice, but he is most definitely a front runner.
Jorge Sedano on “The Sedano Show”
“So I told you earlier, and I mentioned this yesterday, that someone I know that is a mutual friend with Ty Lue, that is a very close friend to Ty Lue, told me, ‘I told Ty, don’t take the Lakers job. This thing is a mess.’”
Prediction: Juwan Howard
Featured Image: Getty Images