Luke Walton on Hot Seat, Who Could Replace Him?

Troy Pierce | March 9th, 2019

This season has not gone well for the Los Angeles Lakers, but that might be just a bit of an understatement as the Lakers are currently sitting in the 11th seed in the Western Conference with playoff hopes fading fast. Luke Walton has been criticized throughout the season by fans and media alike, and it is believed among NBA circles that Magic Johnson already has a replacement in mind.

The Top Candidates

Several names have floated around with a theme of former Lakers and former point guards being considered the top candidates; even current Lakers coach Luke Walton spent nine seasons playing for the storied franchise. Names that have been mentioned a lot in reference to the Lakers coaching situation are Jason Kidd (point guard, NBA Hall of Fame) and Mark Jackson (point guard).

Jason Kidd made his coaching debut with the Brooklyn Nets in 2013 leading the team to a 44-38 record, good enough for third in the Eastern Conference that season and an exit to the Miami Heat in the conference semi-finals. Following his stint in Brooklyn, J-Kidd would spend four seasons coaching the Milwaukee Bucks from 2014-2018; the Bucks best season under Kidd was a 42-40 record and a first-round playoff exit.

Mark Jackson spent three seasons coaching the Golden State Warriors from 2011-2014. His time in Golden State positioned him as a key component in the development of this, now juggernaut, team. Jackson’s best, and final, season would result in a 51-31 record but a first round exit to the Los Angeles Clippers. Since Jackson’s departure from the Warriors organization, stories of him inciting drama and tension in the locker room have been reported; for a Lakers team that has dealt with their fair share of drama this season, they may want to look elsewhere in their coaching search.

Looking at these two of Magic Johnson’s potential coaching targets, it immediately jumps out that they are fellow point guards. Furthermore, Magic has said Lonzo Ball has the potential to be the “next” Jason Kidd. It’s also worth noting that Kidd is a Hall of Fame point guard.

Some Other Choices

Other names have been thrown around as successors to Luke Walton. Tyronn Lue (former Laker, point guard) and Jerry Stackhouse have been mentioned though not as extensively as the other names I mentioned.

Tyronn Lue has spent several seasons as members of the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, and Cleveland Cavaliers coaching staffs. Most notably Lue coached the 2016 Championship Cleveland Cavaliers. Tye Lue last coached in 2018 but would be fired after Cleveland would start the season 0-6.

Jerry Stackhouse is a name that hasn’t been mentioned widely but his connection to current Lakers Brandon Ingram and Reggie Bullock has many speculating that he could be brought in either as a head coach or a member of the coaching staff in some capacity. Stack’s mentoring of Ingram and Bullock (all three hail from Kinston, North Carolina) could be very valuable with Magic deeming Ingram “untouchable” in trade discussions. Stackhouse has never coached in the NBA.

Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka will certainly have work to do this offseason as they look to thrust the purple and gold back into the NBA Finals. Many changes are to come for the Los Angeles Lakers; roster changes and changes to the coaching staff are vital if the front office is to take advantage of the three remaining seasons of LeBron James‘ contract.

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