The Lakers’ head coaching position is still wide open, and they missed out on one of their top candidates after the Suns hired former Pelicans head coach Monty Williams to lead their franchise going forward. Barring something unforeseen, Los Angeles is now left with the two other candidates they’ve reportedly interviewed, Jason Kidd and Ty Lue. Which is to say they have no decent options left.
My colleague Ryan Phillips has already dedicated digital ink to explaining why Jason Kidd would be a terrible hire, so I won’t say much about him, other than he would probably be the worst possible outcome for LA. That leaves Lue, former coach of the Cavs who Adrian Wojnarowski reports is very likely to be the next head coach of the Lakers.
This… is not good. Lue has a championship under his belt and knows how to keep LeBron James happy. That’s about all he brings to the table. Being LeBron’s coach in Cleveland was fine, because they constructed their team around him in such a manner that he was responsible for any and all on-court action. The Lakers are trying to avoid exactly that, because LeBron is 35 and missed the first significant time of his career last season with a groin injury. One would think this would inspire Los Angeles to hire a smart X’s and O’s coach who can scheme around James and further develop the young guys.
That is obviously not the case. Lue is a good guy and the players enjoy playing under him, but the other side of coaching- adjustments, game-planning, drawing up plays- isn’t his strong suit. That’s something the Lakers should have prioritized if they want to not only succeed this year, but in the upcoming years. But they didn’t land their one option on that front in Williams, and now their contingency plan is coming to light. And it doesn’t look pretty.