ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith disputed speculation the Los Angeles Lakers will consider Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd to replace head coach Luke Walton if he's fired following the 2018-19 NBA season.
On Sunday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Kidd, a potential contender to become the head men's basketball coach of the Cal Golden Bears, his alma mater, would be "among the serious candidates for the Lakers coaching job" if it becomes available.
Smith responded to the rumor on Monday's edition of First Take:
"I want to make sure I'm very careful about what I'm saying. I've been told there's no way they're really considering Jason Kidd. He's not on their list. Now that's what I'm hearing. But I also want to emphasize I'm not covering the NBA like that. As much as I cover these games or what have you, I'm not on the phones with these executives every single day as intimately like the great Adrian Wojnarowski is, so I'm certainly not trying to cast any aspersions on any of his reporting. Listen to this man because he's usually right on the money. He's my friend, I respect the hell out of him. But in this particular story, the Lakers are saying, 'No, we're not interested in Jason Kidd.' And they want to make sure that that's clear. I don't know why, but they wanted to make sure that that was clear."
The Lakers failed to reach expectations after signing LeBron James in free agency. They are 32-41 and have been eliminated from playoff contention.
In turn, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported March 3 the "prevailing assumption in league coaching circles remains that Walton will almost certainly be dismissed after the season."
The 46-year-old San Francisco native's teams earned playoff appearances in three of his four full seasons. He was fired by the Bucks with a 23-22 record midway through the 2017-18 campaign.
If the Lakers do move on from Walton, a coaching search will become a critical part of an offseason that will also feature efforts to add more star power to the roster alongside James.