We already knew that Monty Williams was going to get a second interview with the Los Angeles Lakers as the team debates whether or not to offer him their open head coaching job, and it seems that the meeting Tyronn Lue had with general manager Rob Pelinka on Friday went well enough that he will get brought back for a second one as well.
According to Dave McMenamin and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, those follow-up interviews will include team owner Jeanie Buss:
ESPN reporting with @McTen: Ty Lue’s meeting w/ Lakers GM Rob Pelinka today was similar to Monty Williams’ earlier in week: Get to know each other, setting up second interviews focused more on specifics. Lakers plan to bring back both coaches for sit-downs including Jeanie Buss.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 20, 2019
Brad Turner of the L.A. Times added that Lue’s interview went smoothly, and Williams also getting a second sit-down would seem to imply his interview did as well:
Ty Lue had a good interview with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka today and will have a second interview next week with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and Pelinka, per sources.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) April 20, 2019
It is unclear what, if anything, this means for the candidacy of Pelinka’s former Michigan teammate (and current Miami Heat assistant coach) Juwan Howard, but it sounds like the Lakers are planning to interview more candidates than just those three anyway, so Howard will seemingly still get his shot to woo the Lakers’ brass.
A sit-down with ownership is a necessary step in just about every high-level NBA job interview, but would appear to be even more critical in this case after Buss and Pelinka (and the now resigned Magic Johnson) reportedly didn’t see eye-to-eye on now-fired former head coach Luke Walton. Buss will surely want to make sure that Pelinka is on the same page and seems to be developing a collaborative rapport with Howard, Lue, Williams, or any other candidate.
Lue and Williams at the very least have impressed enough in their first interviews to get second ones, which was expected, albeit still worth noting that nothing has gone wrong yet. It’s unclear how exactly each interview went, or what types of tests Pelinka put them through, but if rumors of his meeting spot with Lue are to be believed, he may have given his possible future head coach quite the test.
In Friday’s episode of “Mason and Ireland” on ESPN Radio, Ramona Shelburne and John Ireland said they had heard that Pelinka and Lue met at a Cheesecake Factory, something a quick Twitter search seems to also suggest is the case.
If that’s true, then Pelinka may have gotten an up-close-and-personal look at Lue’s decision-making skills while under quick time constraints. Sure, coaching an NBA Finals game seven is hard, but have you ever been ready to give your order to the waiter or waitress at Cheesecake Factory as soon as they come to your table the first time? Probably not. That menu is like 100 pages long! Plus, a lunch at the Cheesecake Factory would give Pelinka the opportunity to get more bread rained on him than even a press conference to announce that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal. It’s a win-win.
In all seriousness, this is a procedural update, so there isn’t much more to discuss right now. As noted here and elsewhere, it’s a positive sign that the Lakers aren’t rushing this, and are instead going through a slow, methodical process. Having a coach in place by the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery on May 14 — so you know what types of players you might lean towards working out — would be ideal, but there is still nearly a month left to do that.
For now, the team is doing things the right way, and it will be interesting to see who emerges as the frontrunner when the results of this next round of interviews start to leak out.