After losing to Brooklyn on March 22, the Los Angeles Lakers were officially eliminated from the postseason for the sixth consecutive season. The last time the storied franchise made a postseason Kobe Bryant was still wearing a Lakers uniform. It was the 2012-13 season, also the last one in which Los Angeles recorded a winning season.
The 2018-19 regular season will end on April 9 and with the season’s conclusion, some decisions need to be made. One of those decisions most certainly includes the future of current Lakers head coach Luke Walton. In three seasons with the franchise, Walton has won barely 40 percent of his games and has failed to earn a playoff berth. It is presumed that he will be let go once the season ends. If so, who will be tabbed to resurrect one of the NBA’s most storied franchises?
Mark Jackson Many may forget, but it was Jackson that laid the foundation for what has become the Golden State dynasty. Jackson probably will never receive enough credit for developing the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Jackson can handle the force of egos that are the Lakers young stars as well as the media dynamo that is LeBron James. He would also command the respect of the locker room. Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson might prefer an old-school guy like Jackson.
Tyronn Lue The guy that took James to his last NBA title might be able to do the same in L.A. Lue led James and Cleveland to three straight NBA Finals. He navigated the whole media circus that comes hand-in-hand with James and he can probably transform the Lakers defensively in a heartbeat. Lue also would be a choice that James would favor, which surely will figure into any final decision.
Jason Kidd There have been some rumors circulating that Kidd might be the guy to take over the Lakers. Kidd is one of the NBA’s all-time great point guards. That might not be the best reason for hiring him though. Kidd spent three seasons in Milwaukee and went 139-152. He was fired midway through his fourth season. His replacement, Mike Budenholzer, is leading virtually the same team to the NBA’s best record this season. Sure, Kidd was a part of the development of Giannis Antetokounmpo, but can he win right away in L.A.?
Off the Board The Lakers could go off the board for a candidate that doesn’t seem a likely one. How about Pat Riley, for example? Riley isn’t interested in coaching again, but could Johnson lure him back for one last hurrah? Probably not, but it’s worth the speculation.
Doc Rivers would be an interesting candidate if he hadn’t signed a contract extension with the Clippers. The same holds for Utah’s Quin Snyder and Erik Spoelstra in Miami. Still, any of the three might be worth looking into.
Well off the board is former Boston Celtics head coach Rick Pitino, who spent last year winning the Greek Basketball Cup as head coach of Panathinaikos B.C. Pitino, who was fired by Louisville after the whole FBI investigation into college basketball implicated his program in some wrongdoing, hasn’t coached in the NBA since 2001. He spent two seasons with the Knicks back in the late 1980s and three-plus seasons in Boston before resigning in 2001. None of his Celtics teams made the playoffs.