The Los Angeles Lakers and head coach Luke Walton have mutually parted ways after three seasons. The news is not surprising, as the former Golden State Warriors assistant spent the bulk of the season on the hot seat, and the Lakers are a swirling mess of dysfunction.
Luke Walton is no longer head coach of the Lakers. The sides mutually parted. https://t.co/7bnnLfn7uY— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 12, 2019
Still, after the abrupt resignation of Magic Johnson earlier in the week, it was unclear what direction the Lakers would go in. After general manager Rob Pelinka was retained, it seemed inevitable that Walton would eventually be on the way out.
Technically he wasn’t fired (which means he won’t get paid the rest of the money on his contract), so you have to think that both sides were a little relieved to be done with this awkward pairing.
Walton will surely catch on elsewhere, and is already a leading candidate for the surprisingly vacant Sacramento Kings job.
As expected, source tells @TheAthletic that Kings GM Vlade Divac will now reach out to Luke Walton to schedule an interview now that his Lakers days are done. As I reported yesterday, Walton is Divac's first choice for this job.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) April 12, 2019
As for the Lakers, they’re now in the search for a president of basketball operations to replace Johnson, and a coach who can lead LeBron James to replace Walton.
Not surprisingly - but extremely humorously - Ty Lue is one of the top candidates to take over in LA. Also in the running is former New Orleans Pelicans head coach, and current Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams.
Sixers assistant Monty Williams joins Ty Lue as the central candidates in the Lakers search, league sources tell ESPN. Process is expected to center on them.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 12, 2019
It will be a fascinating summer for the Lakers, as they seek to do a better job building around James in their quest to close the enormous gap between Los Angeles and Golden State. There’s a lot to do.
Speaking of James, another person with LeBron connections is making the NBA news. David Griffin, the former general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has taken the vacant executive position with the Pelicans.
David Griffin is finalizing a deal to become the next President of Basketball Operations with the New Orleans Pelicans, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 12, 2019
Likely title for David Griffin with the Pelicans, source says: Executive VP of Basketball Operations.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 12, 2019
Griffin is a tremendous talent, and should greatly help out another organization dealing with high amounts of dysfunction. His biggest job will be finding the right trade for Anthony Davis - a situation that highlighted and capsized the Lakers failure of a season.