After mutually agreeing to part ways with head coach Luke Walton on Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly already have a replacement for Walton in mind: former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Lue is considered the frontrunner to land the Lakers’ head coaching job and reunite with LeBron James, who he won a championship with during his four years in Cleveland:
Ty Lue is a strong frontrunner for the Lakers coaching job, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 12, 2019
Philadelphia 76ers’ assistant Monty Williams is also expected to be among the candidates the Lakers will give serious consideration, according to Wojnarowski (and Brad Turner of the L.A. Times):
Sixers assistant Monty Williams joins Ty Lue as the central candidates in the Lakers search, league sources tell ESPN. Process is expected to center on them.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 12, 2019
The Monty Williams candidacy is a serious one with the Lakers, league sources tell ESPN. He has history with LeBron James as a Team USA assistant and a successful run w/ Pelicans as a head coach. Ty Lue checks the boxes too: ex-Laker, championship coach, LeBron James-approved.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 12, 2019
Two names for Lakers job to keep eye on are Ty Lue and Monty Williams, assistant with 76ers. Don’t expect to see Jason Kidd on that list— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) April 12, 2019
Lue is the biggest name of the two because of his aforementioned relationship with James and his ties to the Lakers organization as a player, but Williams has ties around the league that make him an interesting candidate a team looking to add a superstar this summer.
Williams was the head coach in New Orleans from 2010 to 2015. During that time, he formed a close bond with Anthony Davis, who the Lakers will likely re-engage in trade talks with the Pelicans for this summer.
After his time with the Hornets/Pelicans, Williams briefly served as the associate head coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder under Billy Donovan during the 2015-16 season. While he was only with the team for one season, he made a lasting impact on impending unrestricted free agent Kevin Durant.
While ties to superstar players shouldn’t be the lone thing the Lakers look for in their next head coach, it certainly shouldn’t hurt their chances. These are just the first couple of names to appear, though. Expect the list to grow with a few more high-profile names over the next couple of days.