Ever since the Los Angeles Lakers elected to part ways with head coach Byron Scott on Sunday night, speculation has run rampant on who will replace him. The team is reportedly compiling a "long list" of candidates and expect to fill their coaching position before the start of free agency.
Could it be University of Connecticut men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie? The 13-year NBA veteran reportedly has interest in the job, but is said to want some say in personnel if he were to take it.
What about San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina? The Lakers have reportedly asked for and received permission to interview the Euroleague coaching legend who formerly worked for the team as an assistant to Mike Brown during the latter's tenure as head coach.
The odds-on favorite for the position, however, has to be Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton. The former Lakers forward led the Warriors to a 40-4 record while filling in for interim coach Steve Kerr, and Lakers vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss is reportedly "partial" to his candidacy.
According to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News, those watching the NBA from afar aren't the only ones predicting Walton will land the gig:
The Lakers have not decided [on a coach], though the sentiment around the league casts Walton as a favored candidate.
Walton being heavily assumed to be the next Lakers head coach is no surprise. Walton's success with the Warriors, his age, and recent status as an NBA player would likely allow Walton to connect with the Lakers young core. His prior employment by the Lakers and the organizational familiarity also can't hurt his candidacy.
Nothing is set in stone yet, and Walton could potentially forgo head coaching opportunities this summer and decide to continue on as a Warriors assistant while he gains more experience on an NBA bench, but all indications are that the Lakers' job is his to lose.
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