With more than half of the 2018-2019 NBA season over, there seems to be more questions than answers surrounding Luke Walton and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Despite signing LeBron James to a four-year, $154 million in free agency, the Lakers are currently sitting outside of the Western Conference playoff race.
The roster has been gashed by injuries to core players like James, Lonzo Ball, and Rajon Rondo while Walton has struggled to find any consistency with his lineups. As a result, Walton has come under fire in the media and faces an uncertain future.
If Walton is ultimately fired, it seems as though he would not be out of work for long, according to Pat Forde, Pete Thamel, and Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports:
The most prominent name of a potential replacement would be Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton, who has reportedly fallen out of favor of LeBron James and is dealing with reported friction in the Lakers locker room. Walton would be a prime candidate for both the open UCLA job and potentially the Arizona job. Arizona’s edge would be Walton graduated from the school and starred there for four seasons under Lute Olson. (There’s been no indication Walton desires to coach in college, as his only coaching experience came at the University of Memphis during the 2011 NBA lockout.)
Arizona head coach Sean Miller has been facing scrutiny after the program reportedly paid players and their families came out last season. Because of this, Arizona may be looking to reboot the program with Walton as a potential replacement.
Walton starred for Arizona during his four years there while his father, Bill Walton, has ties to UCLA. Both would make sense as coaching destinations should Walton be fired from the Lakers and is interested in coaching college basketball.
This is all purely conjecture as Walton appears to be safe for at least the remainder of the season. Should the Lakers continue to struggle and he is let go, Jason Kidd has reportedly emerged as a potential candidate and is already ‘promoting himself’ to succeed Walton.