The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly "torn" on whether or not to fire head coach Byron Scott this summer after what will likely be his second consecutive season at the helm of a team with the worst record in team history. But should the Lakers decide to move on from their much-maligned head coach, one of the most popular names to replace him may be unavailable.
Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton has been bandied about as one potential candidate to take over for Scott since the beginning of the season, but according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, "the Knicks [are] getting a strong sense that Luke Walton is not leaving the Warriors this soon." Berman's report is part of a larger one about the Knicks own nebulous coaching situation, but is still relevant if Walton's camp is sending out signals to the rest of the league that he plans to remain in Golden State.
Walton guided the Warriors to a 39-4 record as interim head coach in Steve Kerr's absence from the bench while dealing with complications from an offseason back surgery earlier this season. This success would make him one of the hottest names on the market this offseason should he choose to make himself available.
The Lakers would still have to make the choice to move on from Scott before any of this matters, but as a former Lakers player who now has some head coaching experience, Walton fits the criteria the front office was reportedly looking for last time they underwent a head coaching search. Walton has also had success as an NBA head man this decade (albeit with a historically good roster), which would appease fans and seemingly be an attractive quality to the organization as well.
Walton deciding to remain in Golden State would make some sense for him. The team has a great thing going, and with Steve Kerr's health issues, the head job there may become available sooner than many think. Walton also may simply want to gain more experience on the bench before taking over a head gig in a new organization full-time.
Should Walton decide he wants to remain in Golden State, it thins the head coaching candidate pool a bit, making it even more important for the Lakers to move quickly on a potential replacement in the event they let go of Scott this summer.
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