Lakers Lead

Possible Lakers Head Coach Candidates


Now that the Lakers’ drama-filled season has finally come to a close, the only way to go is up right? Not just yet. The Lakers now face even more problems on top of the abundance of issues that they were already processing. The NBA world was stunned to find out that Magic Johnson has resigned as President of Basketball Operations. Only three days later, the Lakers announced that they have ‘mutually’ decided to part ways with coach Luke Walton. Whether or not that’s good or bad news – that’s up for you to decide. Now leading the search for next year’s head coach is GM Rob Pelinka. This scenario is somewhat troubling for Laker fans, considering his first year as GM didn’t exactly goes as planned.

Now that the search is on, the Lakers need to hire the right person for the job. It takes a specific type of personality to coach one of the greatest players of all time – LeBron James. First and foremost, to coach LeBron, you’re going to need somebody who he respects. You need somebody who demands the room and can check him when needed. It’s incredibly important that the coach creates a culture that LeBron is willing to accept. LeBron has had the reputation of being a “coach killer,” but when you have a player on that high of a pedigree, it’s only right that you pair him with the right coach. Granting that, here are a few possible candidates for the Lakers head coach position next season.


Juwan Howard

Associated Press

Within recent days, the name that seemed to pop out of nowhere is Juwan Howard. LeBron and Howard already have some familiarity with each other having played and won two championships together in Miami. Erik Spoelstra, Miami’s head coach, noted that Howard was a favorite of LeBron. Soon after playing together, Howard also became the assistant coach of the Heat prior to LeBron’s return to Cleveland. Howard also has ties to Rob Pelinka being a former teammate at the University of Michigan. The only question about Howard is that he’s never been a head coach in the NBA before. If the Lakers do decide to pick Howard, they’d be taking a gamble. It’s unsure whether or not the Lakers are willing to pick a coach with minimal experience. However if they do, Howard would definitely at the top of that list.


Jason Kidd

Maddie Meyer – Getty Images

Another name that’s often been discussed is Jason Kidd. There is no doubt that Kidd is a future hall of fame member and coach in the NBA. Kidd and LeBron are also very familiar with each other having battled against each other numerous times throughout their careers. They both are fond of each other and hold each other with the utmost respect. There is a definite mutual interest between the Lakers and Kidd. Per ESPN analyst Adrian Wojnarowski, Kidd was even hesitant in committing fully for the coaching job at his alma mater, Cal, due to the possibility of him becoming the future head coach of the Lakers. Kidd does have some head coaching experience with the Nets and the Bucks, however, that tenure was short-lived due to some differences between him and the front office.


Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson is most commonly known for laying down the foundation of the Golden State Warriors. Though he was unable to win a championship, his tenure there was nothing short of exceptional. The Lakers struggle with defense incredibly. This defensive shortcoming is an area where Jackson could help improve. Before Jackson’s arrival in Golden State, the Warriors were ranked 26th overall in defensive efficiency. After only his first season as head coach, he was able to lead them up to 13th overall and during his second year up to 3rd overall. Jackson is a very player-friendly coach. Current Warriors players till this day will still only speak of him in a positive light. There is no doubt that if he were to become head coach of the Lakers, he would help create a culture that the team is willing to accept.


Monty Williams

Getty images

While currently standing as the assistant coach of Philadelphia, word recently broke that the 76ers’ front office has granted the Lakers permission to interview Monty Williams for the position. Undoubtedly, Williams is a well-respected individual throughout the NBA community – albeit that his resume isn’t far too impressive. Williams was the former head coach of the Pelicans from 2010-2015 compiling a record of only 173-221.

But it should also be noted that Williams had the opportunity to coach Anthony Davis, whom the Lakers have aggressively tried to acquire before this year’s trade deadline. Reportedly, Williams and Davis have built a strong relationship together during his time in New Orleans. Though this just may be connecting dots, it wouldn’t be crazy to wonder that if Williams were to get hired, it could be part of a bigger plan to try and acquire Davis.


Tyronn Lue

AP/ Tony Dejak

One of the coaches that would be a perfect option is Ty Lue. LeBron and Lue already acclimated with each other. The one thing that separates him from the other coaches is the fact that Lue and LeBron have already won a championship together. To start the season, only five head coaches have won a ring – Ty Lue, Greg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Erik Spoelstra, and Rick Carlisle. All of which are currently unavailable except Ty Lue. That could mean something or nothing. The fact of the matter is that it definitely shouldn’t be ignored. He already has the respect of LeBron, and they both have championship experience together. With those boxes¬†checked, he’s an ideal candidate for the position.

So What’s Next?

It’s safe to say that the Lakers staff will have an entirely new look next season. Considering LeBron’s age, the Lakers cannot waste any more time while he’s still playing at a high level. Father time is undefeated, and the Lakers are on a ticking clock. So if they hope to be successful while LeBron is here, moves need to be made soon. Since the end of the season, the Lakers have been unpredictable, and it’s still unsure what they plan to do next. One certainty is they need to find a competent president and an experienced head coach that meshes well with LeBron. Whatever route they do decide to go down still remains to be seen.


About Kevin Cao

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