The Lakers had a pretty devastating weekend. They blew a close game late against the Bucks and then lost another must-win game to the Suns, lowlighted by LeBron inbounding the ball off his own backboard. Luke Walton isn’t all to blame for the Lakers’ collapse — there’s plenty of blame to go around — but it’s increasingly clear a) that the Lakers are unlikely to make the playoffs, and b) Walton will be at least one of the scapegoats. Here are some replacements that make sense (a version of this list originally ran in February).
In odds released by Bovada in February, Kidd was actually the betting favorite to be the Lakers’ head coach on opening day next season. A lot of times these odds can be taken with a grain of salt because they have low betting limits, but Kidd to the Lakers has been a subject of persistent chatter all season. Personally, watching the Bucks improve vastly after replacing Kidd, I think this would be a horrible idea. However, maybe the Lakers do it anyway?
When Lue replaced David Blatt in Cleveland, the Cavs won the title later that season. He has familiarity with the LeBron media frenzy, and won’t get bogged down by the media circus perpetually surrounding the Lakers. Lue played for the Lakers in his first three seasons in the NBA, from 1998-2001.
Jackson had a 121-109 record in three years as coach of the Warriors, including 51-31 in his final season. This is his fifth season out of the league, but his name has also been coming up all season. For example, Chris Broussard mentioned Jackson (along with Lue and Kidd) as possible successors to Walton on The Herd this past November.
After a stint as head coach of the Nuggets, Shaw has been on the Lakers’ coaching staff as associate head coach for the past three seasons. His best chance to get the job would probably have been with a midseason firing of Walton followed by a Lakers run, but it feels a little too late for that at this point.
This is a massive longshot. There is nothing in Coach K’s history that suggests he will ever leave Duke before he’s carried out in a coffin, but if you’re Magic Johnson do you consider making the phone call? Coach K has rapport with LeBron from their time together at the Olympics and the idea of his following his three star freshmen out of Duke and into the NBA for a shot at the moon is intriguing. The Lakers love star-power, and this would be the most fascinating name for the job if they could somehow make it happen.