Luke Walton is now the head coach of the Sacramento Kings and, even before he took his new job, most assumed the Los Angeles Lakers would be hiring a new voice in the aftermath of a disastrous 2018-19 campaign. Then, the Magic Johnson saga happened and, in a hurry, the Lakers and Walton officially parted ways, setting the stage for the hiring process to begin.
While there is plenty of front office intrigue with regard to the way the Lakers are generally operating, Marc Stein of The New York Times weighed in with interesting insight on Tuesday evening. In short, he shed light on a trio of candidates and the headliner, former Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue, seemingly is accompanied with some noteworthy baggage concerning the team’s best player.
The Lakers responded to Johnson’s sudden exit by vowing to “work in a measured and methodical fashion to make the right moves for the future.” What that means so far is interviews for their coaching vacancy in the coming days with Monty Williams of the 76ers; Tyronn Lue, the former Cleveland Cavaliers coach; and the Miami Heat assistant Juwan Howard — with a buzz circulating in coaching circles that Williams has a stronger-than-expected shot at the job because some in the Lakers’ organization may fear hiring Lue would be giving LeBron too much control.
Lue was at the helm when LeBron James led the Cavs to the 2016 NBA title and, with that in mind, there is some reason to assume he would be a quality option for the Lakers. Still, it is exceptionally interesting that there would be fear about a Lue hire based on the presumption of power consolidation by James, especially after the way his first season ended in Los Angeles.
At the end of the day, the Lakers should be attempting to hire the best possible candidate and, if they determine that might be Ty Lue based on his experience and past performance, there is no reason to flatly ignore him based on his relationship with James. It is apparently a factor, though, which could perhaps thrust Williams and/or Howard into the center spot with the league’s most interesting coaching search.