Luke Walton Rumors
And yet it is clear that he prefers the NBA. From what I’m told, if the Lakers do let him go, he will have plenty of options around the league. Walton previously worked briefly as an assistant to his former Arizona teammate, Josh Pastner, when Pastner was at Memphis, but he came away from that experience disenchanted with college coaching. It is unclear whether Walton would be willing to put in the time and effort required to recruit the caliber of player he would need to win at UCLA.
The Suns have not committed to bringing first-year coach Igor Kokoskov back for next season, and with just 16 wins, Phoenix could take a step backward in a season in which improvement was expected. A source told Sporting News that Walton, who starred at Arizona, is seen as a top potential replacement for Kokoskov should the Suns make a move.
But Walton could look elsewhere for opportunities, given the apparent dysfunction in Phoenix. According to sources, the Cavaliers will seek a coach who can develop the franchise’s young players, particularly point guard Collin Sexton and whomever the Cavs select in this year’s draft. Should Cleveland land a top-three pick, the job will look much better.
It was James’ associates, remember, who tried to get the Lakers to hire former Heat assistant David Fizdale (who went to the Knicks) last spring before James joined the team, an idea that was quickly nixed by Buss. And while James might want to retread his old coach, former Lakers guard Tyronn Lue, or his old Olympic teammate, Jason Kidd, Johnson may want a push for Michigan State coach and friend Tom Izzo, who’s given no indication he wants to leave the collegiate ranks. Expect Buss, who has backed Walton all year, to support a reasonable, qualified head coach who can please multiple factions, like Monty Williams.
Luke Walton’s job as head coach is in serious jeopardy, to the point where he’s viewed in some circles as a lame duck. Rajon Rondo, Reggie Bullock, JaVale McGee, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tyson Chandler and Mike Muscala are all on expiring contracts. That’s a whole lot of people to come to work with who probably won’t be on the job in L.A. next season.