Ever since leading the Golden State Warriors to a 39-4 record while head coach Steve Kerr was out, Luke Walton has been firmly on the radar for many NBA teams. Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have an opening, it came as no surprise that Walton’s name was one of many to come up.
Walton is very familiar with the Lakers, having won two championships as a player in 2009 and 2010 and serving as a player development coach for the Los Angeles D-Fenders for the 2013-14 season.
While Walton is currently focused on his job helping the Warriors defeat the Houston Rockets in the playoffs, head coach Steve Kerr confirmed that he has given the Lakers permission to speak with Walton after the series according to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears:
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has called asking for permission to speak Luke Walton.Permission granted after series
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) April 28, 2016
Walton is one of the favorites to land the Lakers job and some reports have made it seem as if he is the Lakers first option. He is young, intelligent, and can connect with young players, and being a former Laker certainly helps his cause.
Of course, leading the Warriors and running the Lakers are two completely different jobs and Walton succeeding in L.A. like he did with the Warriors is no guarantee. Nonetheless, he seems to be at the front of the pack as it stands right now.
Other than Walton, San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina is also a leading candidate while UConn head coach Kevin Ollie is also said to be intrigued by the job.