Almost a week after firing former head coach Byron Scott, who posted a horrid record of 38-126 during his stint as coach, the Lakers announced on Friday night that they have reached an agreement with ex-Lakers forward and current Golden State Warriors assistant head Luke Walton to become their head coach.
Earlier today, the Los Angeles Lakers and Luke Walton reached an agreement on a multi-year contract for Walton to become the next Head Coach of the team, it was announced by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Walton will begin his new duties at the conclusion of the Golden State Warriors season.
Walton went 39-4 as Golden State’s interim head coach in the absence of Steve Kerr, who missed the first 43 games of the season due to a rare spinal fluid leak. Walton won two rings with Los Angeles in 2009 and 2010 and was the Lakers’ top choice, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. The team cancelled all interviews with other candidates after Thursday’s meeting with Walton went well.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is excited about the hire as the Lakers now have a savvy basketball mind to help groom their young stars and return the franchise to prominence.
“We’re excited to bring Luke back to Los Angeles, where we feel he’s going to start an outstanding coaching career. He’s one of the brightest young coaching minds in the game and we feel fortunate that he’ll be leading the on-court future of our team.”
Walton spoke to ESPN about being chosen as the Lakers’ next sideline stalker, and he’s happy to have his dreams of being a head coach come to fruition.
“I loved everything about my time at Golden State and learning from Steve (Kerr). I’ll forever be grateful to him, the organization and the team. But I have always dreamed of being a head coach and the chance to do that for an organization like the Lakers doesn’t come around very often.”
The Lakers acted swiftly in their appointing of Walton as head mead with other teams such as the New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets in hot pursuit of a quality coach. I commend the Lakers for snagging their guy, and this move is one that’s key in the restoration of what has been a desolate franchise for the past several seasons.
Lakers' 2014 coaching search: 89 days
Lakers' 2016 coaching search: 5 days
— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) April 30, 2016
I’m happy the Lakers weren’t fickle, and I’m hoping this serves as an indicator of how things may go this offseason. Pinpoint exactly whom it is, or what it is that you want and pursue. First order of business is re-signing Jordan Clarkson, then courting quality free agents to flank the young pups. Walton should be able to tickle players’ interest and reel in a few studs, and help the Lakers navigate the unsure seas in the post-Kobe Bryant era.