When Luke Walton officially became the Los Angeles Lakers head coach, the former player was responsible for helping them during the rebuilding process.
Walton did an excellent job in establishing a positive locker room environment and developing the young players but now has his work cut out for him when LeBron James decided to sign a four-year, $154 million deal in free agency.
Since James’ arrival, Walton has been under immense pressure to win now. Because of this, there have been questions about if he is the right head coach during the 2018-19 NBA season.
Now, there is already talk about who his successor could be, according to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report as transcribed by Matthew Moreno of Lakers Nation:
“There’s another development that I’m hearing is gaining momentum, and that’s the possibility of Jason Kidd returning to the coaching ranks by succeeding Luke Walton with the Lakers. Now, I first heard Kidd’s name connected with the Lakers a while back. Right about the time the first round of, ‘Is Luke Walton on the hot seat?’ stories came out. Jeanie Buss, head of the Lakers, threw a bucket of water on that seat, cooled it off. And so I tucked away the talk of Kidd and the Lakers as something at the time, simply spitballing or connecting dots that weren’t necessarily part of the same mosaic. Now, I know that Kidd wants to coach again. And I know he expressed interest in the Knicks job before David Fizdale ultimately got it. … In the case of Jason and the Lakers, I figured it was a matter of Jason letting them know he was interested, and the Lakers saying, ‘Thanks, we’ll get back to you.’ Well, now sources are saying that the Lakers have actually gotten back to him and this has gone to the next level. And if the Lakers do make a move on Luke, which based on all of the rumblings could happen sooner rather than later, Kidd appears to be very much in the mix and possibly is even the favorite.”
Jason Kidd last coached with the Milwaukee Bucks and has been out of the league since the 2017-18 season. His name being brought up is an interesting one given the Lakers have been notorious for hiring people with connections to the team.
While it is fair to question how much credence there is to this report, it is something to keep an eye on. When Los Angeles is healthy, they are a solid team but injuries have decimated the roster throughout the season.
There is no use in parsing what this could mean in the near future unless the Lakers are in danger of missing the playoffs. However, it does seem as though this could be Walton’s last season as head coach if they are unable to make a playoff run with James and the young core.