Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton appears to be the presumptive favorite for the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching job. The front office has already asked for and received permission to interview their former forward, and reportedly is only taking a "legit look" at candidates like Ettore Messina if Walton turns them down.
With Walton's Warriors finishing off the Houston Rockets in five games on Wednesday night, it's likely that the Lakers will move to interview him as soon as possible. Whether or not he'll say yes is not a done deal, however.
It sounds like Walton isn't rushing to run his own team just because he had success as an interim coach. His father, NBA legend Bill Walton, actually cautioned him against making a hasty decision to leave the great situation he's currently in during a recent interview.
"Stay where he is," the elder Walton said when asked what advice he would give his son if he called him to ask about taking the Lakers job. "Head coaching jobs are open for a reason. What he has right now, it doesn't get any better than that. Money cannot buy what they have on the Warriors right now. I've been on some of the most special teams in the history of basketball. UCLA, Portland, and the Celtics. I have seen the other end of the spectrum too, and so I know."
"It's so fragile, it's so tenuous," Walton continued. "It's like with any young person chasing their dream in the world of entrepreneurship and start-ups and everything: 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, I mean you've got Steve Kerr, you've got all of these beautiful players, you've got California, the Bay Area is fantastic."
Lakers fans panicking that Walton's father has already talked him out of the job probably shouldn't lose too much sleep over these comments, however, because Bill isn't so certain luke will take his advice.
"With all that being said... Did you listen to your dad?"
You can watch Bill Walton's full comments here, and they are interesting in light of the very different sentiments expressed by Luke's former college coach at Arizona, Lute Olson. Olson spoke with Sam Amick of USA Today on Wednesday and sounded considerably more enthusiastic about the prospect of Walton taking the Lakers job:
"I'd love to see him with the Lakers," Olson, the 81-year-old who lives in Tucson, Ariz. with his wife, Kelly, told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. "He has a home in Manhattan Beach still, or a condo or whatever. Just having him close by would be really nice. It would give us a reason to go into LA other than shopping."
Olson goes on to discuss with Amick how impressed he was by Luke's time on the sideline with the Warriors, which along with his Lakers ties are like the reason he is considered the "favored candidate" for the Lakers job around the league.
If nothing else, these comments from both men make it clear that Walton accepting the Lakers' job is not a done deal even if the team offers it to him. Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for the latest updates on the team's coaching search.
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