On Friday morning, it was announced that Monty Williams accepted an offer to become the next head coach of the Phoenix Suns. With Williams out of the running, the Los Angeles Lakers will have to narrow their own coaching search down to two candidates (sorry, Jason Kidd): former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue and Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard.
Juwan Howard reportedly “impressed” the Lakers during his first and lone interview with the front office last week, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Lue is favored to land the head coaching job in Los Angeles:
The expectation is the Lakers will move toward Ty Lue as head coach, but there's been no offer made to him yet, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 3, 2019
Tania Ganguli and Brad Turner of The L.A. Times added further clarity on where the Lakers are with Lue:
The Lakers, meanwhile, were expected to reach out to former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue soon after Phoenix’s announcement in an effort to hire him for their head coaching vacancy, according to people familiar with their plans.
However, it sounds like that contact may have not taken place just yet:
Having conducted second interviews with Lue and Williams on April 24 and 25, neither candidate had heard from the Lakers as late as Thursday afternoon, according to people familiar with the situation.
In all honesty, Lue should have been the heavy favorite to land the job from the very beginning.
Yes, Williams is regarded as a good locker room guy and has close ties to several star players around the league, but his resume as a head coach doesn’t come close to Lue’s, who has three NBA Finals appearances and an NBA championship under his belt. Lue didn’t win just any championship, though: He won a championship with LeBron James, which is what makes him the most qualified candidate for the Lakers specifically.
James, 34, is under contract with the Lakers for at least two more years and unless he starts showing signs of rapid decline next season, or the young core makes a huge leap, Los Angeles has a two-year championship window. If the goal is to ultimately win a championship with James, why not hire the guy that knows how to win with James?
Unless a quality head coach becomes available within the next 48 hours or so, Lue will probably be the Lakers’ next head coach. All things considered, that would be a great way to start a pivotal offseason for the franchise.