Bucher: Jason Kidd Could Succeed Luke Walton as Lakers Head CoachJanuary 31, 2019
Hall of Famer Jason Kidd may get the chance to coach future Hall of Famer LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report reported on a connection between Kidd and the Lakers on the Bucher and Friends podcast (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). He said the chance of Kidd succeeding Luke Walton as the head coach of the Purple and Gold is "gaining momentum."
Bucher noted he heard of the connection "a while back" but added the team has "actually gotten back to him" and sees him as someone "very much in the mix and possibly even the favorite" should it fire Walton. He also pointed out that firing could happen "sooner rather than later."
Walton's job security has been a significant point of discussion around the Lakers this season.
Controlling owner Jeanie Buss appeared on The Lowe Post podcast with ESPN's Zach Lowe earlier in January and said, "I can tell you right now, that everyone, Magic, [GM Rob Pelinka] myself, everyone in the organization is behind Luke. ... We are doing everything we can to make sure that Luke is successful in his job. That's our job. ... I think he is doing a terrific job."
That echoed a report from Marc Stein of the New York Times stating Walton "has the strongest possible backing from the owner Jeanie Buss," who "would prevent such rashness" if president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka wanted to fire Walton during the season.
Such a report was notable since Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com reported in November that Johnson "admonished" Walton following the team's slow start.
However, this latest suggestion from Bucher comes after ESPN's Jackie MacMullan appeared on the Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective podcast on Friday (h/t Chicco Nacion of the Score) and said, "It's clear to me, and probably to you, Brian, that LeBron's camp would prefer a coaching change—they're not too subtle about that. Not LeBron, but all the people around LeBron. There's plenty of them and they've made it known."
It is difficult to call the Lakers anything but a disappointment at this stage seeing as how they are two games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the final spot in the Western Conference playoff picture.
Walton deserves some credit for leading them to a 26-25 record, though, since James has been out since Christmas Day with a groin injury, Rajon Rondo missed significant time with physical setbacks and Lonzo Ball is out with an ankle injury.
Still, reports are flying around a team that has not lived up to expectations at this point, and now reportedly there is a possible successor who has been identified.
As for Kidd, he was a Hall of Fame player but has struggled to establish himself as a head coach. He sported a 183-190 record during his time on the sidelines for the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks and is just 9-15 in the playoffs. He made it out of the first round just once and proceeded to lose in the second round in five games.