Throughout the course of the season, there has been a lot of smoke surrounding Luke Walton and his future as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Now, we’re starting to see the flames from that fire.
Over the past week, reports have surfaced linking the Lakers to a few high-profile names to replace Walton as head coach, including Jason Kidd and Tyronn Lue. While the front office reportedly doesn’t view Kidd as a serious candidate, they believe Lue, who coached James to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, deserves “strong consideration.”
However, despite the Lakers’ apparent interest in Lue, they’ve yet to reach out to him about replacing Walton, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic, and if they do, the belief is that Lue will let Walton now:
Lue recently called Walton to assure him that the Lakers had not contacted him about a potential head coach opening, a source close to the situation said.
The source said Lue told Walton that if he was contacted by someone in the organization he would let the Lakers coach know out of “courtesy and friendship.”
There’s a few things that can be taken away from this portion of the report, the first being that Walton and Lue have seemingly established a rapport after their conversation about coaching James this past summer.
The second thing that can taken away is that Walton is almost surely gone at the end of the season. This has been assumed for most of the season, but the fact that there needs to be a report clearing up that the Lakers aren’t reaching out to head coach candidates while Walton is still employed says everything that needs to be said about Walton’s job security.
With the season ending in less than two weeks, we’ll find out Walton’s fate sooner rather than later, but all signs point to him being shown the exit door at the season’s end.