The Los Angeles Lakers, actively seeking a new head coach, have been granted permission to interview Golden State Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton in the near future.
On Wednesday, coach Steve Kerr revealed that Lakers GM Mitch Kuphak recently contacted Warriors GM Bob Myers, who told his counterpart that Walton could be interviewed at the completion of the ongoing first round playoff series against the Houston Rockets.
“Mitch has called Bob and we’ve told Mitch he’s perfectly welcome to talk to Luke as soon as this series is over and we have a little break,” Kerr said, while addressing reporters ahead of Wednesday’s Game 5 against the Houston Rockets. If the Warriors close out the series tonight, there’s a possibility that Walton and the Lakers sit down for an interview later this week.
Lakers history with Luke Walton
Walton, 36, who won two championships during his nine seasons with the Lakers, has earned the laurels of coaches around the league for his underrated role with the reigning NBA champions. Walton coached the Warriors to a record 24-0 start this season while substituting for Kerr, who was on a lengthy leave of absence due to complications arising from two back surgeries.
Though Kerr ran away with the Coach of the Year honors, Walton finished ninth in the final voting with one second-place and two third-place votes. According to Draymond Green, Walton deserved a few more votes. “It is impressive for an assistant coach. I think he should have been higher.”
After drawing comparisons with Phil Jackson, Walton has become a highly demanded coach in the NBA. And despite receiving a handful of interview requests, Walton doesn’t want to shy away from the job at hand – helping the Golden State Warriors repeat as NBA champions.
On Tuesday, Walton said that he is keen to remain with the Warriors. “I love my job here. I love the playoff battles that we’re in right now. We’ve got prep work to do. Every bit of focus right now should be on the playoffs. So any questions I’m asked about anything else is a distraction in my opinion, and then I’m being selfish. So I’m not answering anything about anything except for our team and the playoffs,” added Walton, who has also been linked with the New York Knicks.”
Despite Walton’s insistence to stay in Oakland, the Lakers job must tempt him. Who wouldn’t want to be upgraded from an assistant to a head coach? Will the Lakers and Luke Walton reach an agreement before the end of the week? Don’t bet against it.