After two very unsuccessful seasons as Lakers head coach, the organization cut ties with Byron Scott after he mustered just 38 combined wins in those two seasons. Los Angeles had a bevy of coaches that they were interested in and elected to appoint Luke Walton to lead their team.
Walton spent eight seasons with the Lakers from 2003-2011 and was a part of back-to-back championships in 2008-09 and 2009-10. After retiring, Walton made his way to Golden State where he won another title last year as an assistant to Steve Kerr. To start this year, Walton helped propel the Warriors to their record-setting 24-0 start and finished 39-4 when Kerr was unable to coach the team officially. Unfortunately, Walton didn’t receive credit for any of those victories but finished eighth in the Coach of the Year voting.
“We’re excited to bring Luke back to Los Angeles, where we feel he’s going to start an outstanding coaching career,” said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. “He’s one of the brightest young coaching minds in the game and we feel fortunate that he’ll be leading the on-court future of our team.”
The Lakers are in a very interesting spot after their dismal 17-65 season. Los Angeles has a fantastic chance at a top-2 pick which would land them either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram and only $26,101,518 is guaranteed in salary for next season, according to Basketball-Reference. A slight caveat in the draft scenario is that the 76ers will get their pick if it falls outside the top-3.
Their core, however, is extremely solid with D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson — an upcoming free agent — in the backcourt, and Julius Randle in the frontcourt. Walton being added as head coach, combined with their market and potential down the road makes a great selling point for a team with a lot of money to throw at free agents this summer.