Luke Walton, the Golden State Warriors assistant coach, will be allowed to attend interviews for coaching positions with other teams, head coach Steve Kerr revealed on Monday.
There were recent reports that Walton had met Knicks President Phil Jackson about possibly taking over the vacant head coaching job in New York. However, Kerr dismissed those rumors and explained that interested teams must follow protocol to request meetings with Walton.
Ahead of Game 2 of the first round series against Houston Rockets, Kerr addressed an ESPN report that “Jackson and Walton had loosely discussed the Knicks’ head-coaching opening” last week. ”First of all, Luke and I both stay in touch with Phil (Jackson), so we email and text occasionally,” Kerr told reporters at the Oracle Arena on Monday.
Kerr said the team would follow the same protocol as with former assistant Alvin Gentry, who agreed to sign with the Pelicans during last year’s playoffs.
“Nobody from New York has interviewed Luke. That has not happened. Luke and Phil have had contact, just like Phil and I have had contact, but not anything to do with the job. That would be tampering. If somebody wants to speak with Luke, they know the protocol. They would call (Warriors general manager) Bob (Myers), and we will handle it just like we handled with Alvin (Gentry) last year.”
Luke Walton to put off all meetings?
Walton said he was focused on the job at hand, helping the Warriors to back-to-back NBA titles. “Honestly, my mindset is mainly with these playoffs that we’re in right now,” Walton told the San Jose Mercury News on Monday.
“I know the way this works. You can’t just tell everybody I’m not going to interview anywhere until the end of the playoffs because most coaches have hired by then. So I’m very comfortable, and I love where I’m at right now.”
Walton, widely perceived as Phil Jackson’s protégé, guided the Warriors to a 39-4 start in the absence of Kerr. “I talked to Phil, but I always talk to Phil. He’s a mentor of mine. There was no job interview whatsoever. It was just a conversation, which is not that rare for Phil and I to have.”
Luke Walton has also been linked with former team Los Angeles Lakers.