It didn’t take the Los Angeles Lakers very long to find their new head coach. After firing Byron Scott on Sunday, the Lakers needed only one discussion with Warriors assistant Luke Walton before the two sides were able to agree to a deal.
Walton had seemed to emerge as the favorite to land the job, but there were questions about whether or not he wanted to leave Golden State.
Ultimately Walton decided to return to the franchise where he was able to win two championships as a player and in a statement to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Walton thanked the Warriors while noting that this Lakers opportunity is not one that comes around often:
Luke Walton tells ESPN. “I loved everything about my time at Golden State and learning from Steve. 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.”
Walton will remain with the Warriors throughout the remainder of the playoffs and will join the Lakers afterward. With the Warriors likely to make a deep playoff run, however, Walton will need to work quickly to assemble a staff and be prepared for the NBA Draft in June where the Lakers could have a top-3 pick.
The Lakers seem to be on the upswing now with Walton in charge and a young improving core led by Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and D’Angelo Russell. In an extremely important summer, the Lakers have taken the first step in the right direction.