Luke Walton Named Lakers Head Coach

Danny Webster@@DannyWebster21Analyst III

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott in the second half of an NBA basketball game against Orlando Magic Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in Los Angeles.  Lakers won 107-98. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers fired Byron Scott on April 24, but it didn't take them long to find his replacement, as the team announced it has chosen its next head coach.

Continue for updates.


Walton Chosen as Next Head Coach

Friday, April 29 

The Lakers announced Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton has been named the next head coach. Howard Beck and Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report initially reported the news.

On April 27, Walton was given permission by Warriors head coach Steve Kerr to speak with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak once the team's series against the Houston Rockets had concluded, per Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group. 

Chris Mannix of The Vertical reported on April 25 that the Lakers are "lockstep on whom they want," with Walton "an obvious choice." Mannix noted Walton "has strong ties to the franchise and is fresh off the most successful fill-in head coaching stint in NBA history."

On Sunday, Wojnarowski reported Walton was among the candidates on the Lakers' short list.


Ollie Denied Interest in Lakers Job

Friday, April 29

“Basically [Kevin] Ollie, he’s texted me before 9:00 every day this week,” 2016 recruit Christian Vital said, per Evan Daniels of Scout.com. “Just letting me know about the Lakers situation and that he loves me and he’s staying at UConn. That really means something to me, to have that kind of relationship with the head coach, knowing he has a million things to do.”

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (via the San Bernardino Sun) first reported Ollie could be interested on April 25.

Medina reported the Lakers would not need to seek permission to interview Ollie, although doing so is seen as a "common courtesy." However, there are issues with Ollie's contract if the Lakers would have chosen to hire him, per Medina:

Ollie has three years left on his contract with UConn after signing a five-year extension in 2014. But with former Huskies athletic director Warde Manuel leaving for the University of Michigan earlier this season, Ollie has a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave for another team without needing to negotiate a buyout, according to sources familiar with the terms. A source added, however, those terms would not go into effect until March 2017.


Lakers Would Have Pursued Messina

Tuesday, April 26

ESPN's Marc Stein reported the Lakers would have given San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina "a very legit look" if they "can't lure" Walton to Los Angeles. 

Sam Amick of USA Today reported the Lakers have received permission to interview Messina.


Multiple Candidates Emerged for Lakers

Monday, April 25

Wojnarowski noted on April 24 that potential candidates to replace Scott could include ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy. ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne reported Monday that former Lakers player Derek Fisher also has interest.


Lakers a Disappointment Under Scott's Leadership

Los Angeles lost a franchise-record 65 games in 2015-16 and went 38-126 in Scott's two years at the helm. Since winning 45 games and making the playoffs in the 2012-13 season, the Lakers have finished with 27, 21 and 17 wins in the last three years, respectively.

The decision to fire Scott came days after the Minnesota Timberwolves and Washington Wizards hired Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks, respectively.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported the Lakers were Thibodeau's first choice for his next coaching job, but he moved forward and became the Wolves' head coach and president of basketball operations on April 20.

Now, Walton will be in for a challenge as the Lakers attempt to get back into championship contention after three difficult and unusual years in Los Angeles.

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