The Lakers had a hellacious loss to the Hawks on Tuesday night, and while Luke Walton still has a sliver of a chance to save his job the odds do not look phenomenal for him right now. The Lakers fell to 28-29, and although they’re not quite dead yet they are currently on the outside looking in from the Western Conference playoffs. Looking ahead, these are some names that make some sense to pop up as candidates to replace Walton as Lakers head coach.
In odds released by Bovada earlier this week, Kidd is 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. Nevertheless, it also feels most likely right now.
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 be if there is a midseason firing of Walton, and the Lakers all of a sudden go on a run where the Lakers play well enough to warrant giving him the job permanently.
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.