The NBA’s coaching carousel has begun spinning, as a number of teams that have found themselves out of the playoffs decided to make coaching changes.
On Friday, the least surprising of those happened, as the Lakers and coach Luke Walton agreed to “mutually part ways.” The Lakers announced the news in a statement, freeing up the team to go find a new coach and Walton to find a new team. General manager Rob Pelinka and Walton both released statements through the team upon the decision being announced.
“We would like to thank Luke for his dedicated service over the last three years,” said Pelinka. “We wish Luke and his family the best of luck moving forward.”
“I want to thank Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers,” said Walton. “This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family.”
It comes as little surprise that Walton is out as Lakers coach. Rumors swirled throughout the season about his job status, and by the All-Star break, it was all but assumed he was done and someone new would take his place this summer. There was a little doubt thrown into that certainty when Magic Johnson suddenly stepped down, but sure enough both parties decided it was best for them to go different ways.
The Lakers list of coaching candidates, based on reports over the past few months, is expected to include Tyronn Lue, Jason Kidd, Juwan Howard, and Monty Williams among others, with Lue and Williams as the favorites.