The Lakers, Suns, Rockets and Kings are likely to express interest in Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton for their head coaching jobs in the offseason, sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post. Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post reported earlier this week that the Lakers and Suns would target him (Twitter link). They join the Knicks, who reportedly view Walton as a top candidate, even though New York appears a long shot for him, and the Nets, who apparently have the 35-year-old on their radar, at least, as they seek to fill their GM vacancy first.
Remaining with the Warriors for next season is not out of the realm of possibility for Walton, barring the emergence of an enticing offer, a source close to the coach suggested to Berman. That jibes with Walton’s recent remark that he’s in no rush to make a change and would “love to be back again next season” with Golden State. Walton is apparently set on remaining with the team at least through this season, which is liable to stretch well into June for the 48-4 Warriors.
Walton had talks with the Knicks about becoming an assistant coach in 2014, but the team wasn’t ready to make an offer when Warriors coach Steve Kerr pursued him for his staff at Golden State, as Berman details. Walton joined the Warriors that summer for his first job on an NBA bench and only his second season as a coach on any level following a 10-year NBA playing career. He ascended to interim head coach before this season when Kerr took a leave of absence to recover from two back surgeries, and Walton led the team to a sterling 39-4 record before Kerr returned last month.
The Suns, Rockets and Knicks all have interim head coaches, while Byron Scott and George Karl remain in their formal capacities as head coaches of the Lakers and Kings, respectively. However, Scott isn’t assured of lasting past the season and the Kings nearly fired Karl this week.
Which job makes the most sense for Walton? Leave a comment to tell us.