Tyronn Lue

Lakers Plan On Second Interview For Tyronn Lue

As the Lakers progress with their search for a new head coach, Tyronn Lue will be among those brought in for a second interview, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin report (Twitter link).

Lue, who led the Cavaliers to a world championship three years ago, interviewed with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Friday. As Wojnarowski and McMenamin note, that meeting was held with the purpose of both sides getting to know one another, and setting up a second interview with owner Jeanie Buss.

Los Angeles met with Sixers’ assistant coach Monty Williams earlier in the week and is also expected to receive a second interview. As we relayed on Friday, the Lakers will also meet with Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard.

After three seasons at the helm, Luke Walton was dismissed by the Lakers at season’s end. He has since latched on with the Kings as their new head coach.

Lakers To Interview Juwan Howard

APRIL 19, 9:45pm: The Lakers will meet with Howard on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

APRIL 14, 2:28pm: Members of the Lakers’ front office will travel to meet with Williams sometime after Game 2 of the Sixers’ playoff series, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

APRIL 14, 2:14pm: The Lakers have received permission to talk to Heat assistant Juwan Howard about their head coaching vacancy, tweets ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. An interview will probably take place next week, she adds.

Howard is the third name to appear in the Lakers’ coaching search since they parted ways with Luke Walton on Friday. L.A. also plans to discuss the job with former Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue next week and has gotten permission from the Sixers to interview assistant coach Monty Williams.

Earlier today, we told you that Howard and Jamahl Mosley will interview to replace Larry Drew in Cleveland

L.A. Notes: Lakers, Lue, Williams, Clippers, West

As we detailed earlier this week, Tyronn Lue‘s meeting with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka about the team’s head coaching vacancy is taking place today, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter).

Lue has experience coaching LeBron James in Cleveland, which could be a point in his favor as Pelinka and the Lakers weigh their options for Luke Walton‘s replacement. As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst writes, coaching James isn’t without its challenges, but if a coach comes in with a game plan, holds LeBron accountable, and is prepared for push-back, he can succeed.

Lue and Monty Williams are among the candidates apparently in the running for the Lakers’ job, though both men have reportedly been warned to proceed with caution. As Colton Jones of Amico Hoops relays, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said during an appearance on 710 ESPN that “everyone in the league” has told Williams not to take the job, while Jorge Sedano of ESPN said one of Lue’s close friends has given the former Cavs coach a similar warning.

It remains to be seen which direction the Lakers are leaning, or whether they’ll expand their search beyond Lue, Williams, and Juwan Howard. However, Shelburne also notes that it wouldn’t be a total surprise if Williams prefers to remain with the Sixers, where he’s an assistant on Brett Brown‘s staff. His family is settled there, and he could be next in line if Philadelphia were to move on from Brown, says Shelburne (via Jones).

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles teams:

  • According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, there’s no indication that the Lakers plan to reach out to Clippers consultant Jerry West about the possibility of returning to the franchise following Magic Johnson‘s resignation from his president of basketball operations role. For his part, West said he’s preparing for an eventful offseason with the Clippers, but made no guarantees about his role next season and beyond. “Well, as far as I can tell, I really don’t have a future, OK? My future is now,” West told Amick. “I don’t really worry about that. I worry about getting through this season, and really concentrating – all of us, concentrating – on free agency.”
  • Although they fell back to earth last night, the fact that the Clippers made the postseason and are capable of performances like their Game 2 win over Golden State bodes well for the pitch they can make to free agents this summer, writes Shaun Powell of NBA.com. Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times conveys a similar sentiment, writing that the club’s future is bright regardless of what happens in the playoffs.
  • In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks takes a deep dive into the Lakers’ offseason, exploring the head coaching search, the possibility of revisiting Anthony Davis trade talks, the club’s free agency options, and more.

Stein’s Latest: Lakers, Sixers, Myers

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka appears to be gaining more power inside of the team’s front office, Marc Stein of the New York Times writes in his weekly newsletter. The former agent is reportedly running Los Angeles’ search for a new head coach.

It’s curious that the team is searching for a coach before settling on an official head of basketball operations. Many organizations set up their front office structures prior to hiring a coach.

Stein provides more on the situation and passes along some additional nuggets in this week’s edition of the newsletter. Here are the highlights from his piece:

  • There’s chatter within league circles that Sixers assistant coach Monty Williams’ candidacy for the Lakers‘ gig is as strong in part because some within the front office fear giving the job to Tyronn Lue would hand too much control to LeBron James. Williams met with Pelinka to discuss the position earlier today. Lue and Juwan Howard are among the other candidates rumored to be in contention for the position.
  • The Sixers attempted to pry Warriors team president Bob Myers away from Golden State last offseason before deciding to promote Elton Brand to the role, Stein reports. Philadelphia also attempted to bring Rockets GM Daryl Morey to its front office.
  • Morey’s recent contract extension from the Rockets is estimated to pay the executive in the neighborhood of $8MM annually, Stein hears. Magic Johnson‘s salary as the Lakers’ team president was estimated to be $10MM per year and Stein argues that Los Angeles could feasibly offer a candidate double that salary if they wanted to lure a prized rival executive.
  • Stein writes that there is both “shock and relief” within the league that the Lakers haven’t attempted to poach a decorated rival executive, such as Myers, Spurs GM R.C. Buford, or Thunder GM Sam Presti.

Lakers Meeting With Williams On Tuesday, Lue On Friday

11:55am: Pelinka is meeting with Williams today to discuss the club’s head coaching job, tweets Turner.

10:46am: Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka is scheduled to meet with Tyronn Lue this Friday in Los Angeles to discuss the team’s head coaching position, reports Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

Lue is one of a handful of candidates the Lakers are said to be considering to replace Luke Walton, who was let go last week. Team officials are reportedly traveling to meet with Sixers assistant Monty Williams this week, and an interview with Heat assistant Juwan Howard is also expected to take place at some point this week.

A former NBA point guard, Lue began his coaching career as an assistant in Boston under Doc Rivers in 2011. After moving with Rivers to the Clippers for one season in 2013/14, Lue made his way to Cleveland, where he was an assistant for a year and a half before taking the head coaching reins from David Blatt midway through the 2015/16 campaign.

Lue led the Cavaliers to a championship that season and brought the team back to the NBA Finals in each of the following two years. After LeBron James‘ departure during the 2018 offseason, Lue lasted just six more games, having been replaced by Larry Drew in the fall once the Cavs started this season 0-6.

During his time in Cleveland, Lue had to take a health-related leave of absence due to chest pains which were believed to be compounded by stress. However, Joe Vardon of The Athletic recently wrote that the former Cavs coach is healthy now, having lost 35 pounds with a new workout plan and diet. The fact that Lue is willing to pursue the Lakers’ job suggests he’s confident he can return to a demanding position.

Lakers Get Permission To Interview Monty Williams, Will Meet With Tyronn Lue

The Lakers have received permission to talk to Sixers assistant Monty Williams about their head coaching job, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. L.A. is expected to meet next week with Tyronn Lue, another top candidate for the position, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Woj notes that Williams won’t fly to Los Angeles while his team is involved in a playoff series, so initial contact is likely to be made either by phone or by Lakers officials traveling to meet with him.

Williams, 47, joined the Sixers as lead assistant this season after taking a two-year break from the NBA following his wife’s death in a car accident. He compiled a 173-221 record as a head coach in New Orleans and has served as an assistant in Portland and Oklahoma City as well.

Lue, 41, would come with plenty of experience in coaching Lakers star LeBron James. They spent several years together in Cleveland and combined to bring the city an NBA title in 2016. The Cavaliers fired Lue in October after an 0-6 start.

Lakers Notes: Walton, Lue, Pelinka, Caruso

Luke Walton‘s fatal mistake with the Lakers was not insisting that everyone else defer to LeBron James, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Tyronn Lue, who won a title with LeBron in Cleveland and is considered among the top candidates to replace Walton in L.A., established a clear order when he took over for David Blatt in 2016. Lue demanded that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love set aside any individual agendas and let James run the show.

Walton never made similar demands after LeBron came to the Lakers, according to Vardon. He was fine with several players serving as the primary ball-handler and didn’t adjust the offense much to feature his new weapon.

“We had our system coming into training camp, and it was similar to the last few years,” former Lakers center Ivica Zubac said after being traded in February. “We all knew LeBron was the guy, but no, that’s not how it was. Luke wants to play fast and he said it right after camp started. I think we played the right way until LeBron got hurt, and then we just didn’t have enough to win.”

There’s more news from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers haven’t contacted Lue about their coaching job yet, but he is in much better health now than when he had to take a leave of absence last season, Vardon adds. Lue has lost 35 pounds, changed his diet and works out twice a day.
  • GM Rob Pelinka will be in charge of the search for a new coach, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. That’s one more sign that Pelinka’s position with the organization is secure after the departure of team president Magic Johnson. The front office talked briefly to Walton’s representatives to see if they could work out an agreement to retain him as coach, Shelburne adds (Twitter link). However, discussions didn’t go very far.
  • Alex Caruso, Johnathan Williams and Jemerrio Jones may not return next season, but they provided an inspiring effort after the Lakers’ playoff hopes were extinguished, relays Kevin Ding of NBA.com. After making his NBA debut March 31, Jones thanked Walton after each game for giving him a chance to play. Caruso expressed similar gratitude to Walton and Pelinka in his exit interview on Wednesday. Caruso also credits South Bay Lakers president Joey Buss for helping him to land a two-way contract last season. “Might not be here now,” Caruso said. “It’s all butterfly effect getting to this point.”

Lakers, Luke Walton Agree To Part Ways

The Lakers and head coach Luke Walton have mutually agreed to part ways, the team announced today in a press release.

“I want to thank (team owner) Jeanie Buss and the Buss family for giving me the opportunity to coach the Lakers,” Walton said in a statement. “This franchise and the city will always be special to me and my family.”

It has been a wild week for Walton, who was viewed as a dead man walking for the last several weeks of the 2018/19 season. Widely expected to be fired at season’s end, Walton appeared to get a second life when president of basketball operations Magic Johnson abruptly announced his resignation on Tuesday night.

With Johnson out of the picture, in part because he decided he didn’t want the responsibility of firing Walton, there was a sense that the head coach might stick around to help provide some stability in a period of upheaval for the franchise — particularly since Buss was said to be a big fan of Walton.

However, it appears the Lakers will be in the market for a new head coach after all, having become the fourth team to announce a head coaching change in the last two days, joining Sacramento, Memphis, and Cleveland.

Two of those teams, the Kings and Cavaliers, have previously been cited as potential landing spots for Walton, assuming he opts to continue his head coaching career right away after three up-and-down season in Los Angeles. According to Sam Amick of USA Today (via Twitter), Kings GM Vlade Divac views Walton as a top candidate to replace Dave Joerger, and is expected to reach out to him soon.

Walton technically improved his record every year as the Lakers’ coach, winning 26, 35, and 37 games to finish with an overall mark of 98-148 (.398). However, this season’s squad, hit hard by injuries and negatively impacted by the midseason Anthony Davis trade-rumor saga, fell well short of expectations following last summer’s acquisition of LeBron James.

It’s not clear if the Lakers intend to bring in a top-level executive to replace Johnson in their front office. Typically in this situation, a new head of basketball operations would be given the opportunity to hand-pick his own head coach, but it appears as if the team already has its eye on a pair of head coaching candidates

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) that the Lakers’ coaching search is expected to focus on former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue and former Pelicans head coach Monty Williams. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports mentioned those two candidates earlier this week, noting that former Warriors coach Mark Jackson was also on L.A.’s list.

Lue, of course, has experience coaching James in Cleveland, while Williams has worked with LeBron on Team USA.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Magic Johnson Fallout: News, Rumors, Reactions, More

In the wake of Magic Johnson‘s abrupt resignation on Tuesday night, the Lakers issued a statement thanking him for his work with the franchise over the past two years.

“There is no greater Los Angeles Laker than Earvin Johnson. We are deeply grateful to Magic for all that he has done for our franchise – as a player, an ambassador and an executive,” the statement reads. “… He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family.

“As we begin the process of moving forward, we will work in a measured and methodical fashion to make the right moves for the future of our organization.”

While Johnson admitted in his impromptu press conference on Tuesday that he didn’t inform owner Jeanie Buss of his decision to step down before announcing it to the press, Buss – at least publicly – showed no sign that she was angry about the move, though ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne hears from those close to the Buss family that they were “sad, angry, and disappointed.”

“Earvin, I loved working side by side with you,” Buss tweeted. “You’ve brought us a long way. We will continue the journey. We love you.”

Reactions to and additional details on one of the most surprising developments of the NBA season have poured in over the last 12 hours, so we’ll round up many of them in the space below. Let’s dive in…

General news/rumors:

  • Johnson met for three hours with Buss on Monday to discuss the Lakers’ direction and gave no indication he was planning on leaving the organization, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka also visited with LeBron James and agent Rich Paul on Saturday and similarly gave no indication that he was thinking about stepping down.
  • Sources tell Ohm Youngmisuk and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com that Buss, Pelinka, CFO Joe McCormack, COO Tim Harris, and manager of special projects Linda Rambis sat down for an “all-hands-on-deck meeting” following Johnson’s announcement on Tuesday night. The Lakers’ franchise is currently “paralyzed” by the news, a team source tells ESPN.
  • People close to Johnson say he was “deeply offended” by the constant accusations of tampering that followed him during his two years with the Lakers, writes ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. An ability to once again speak freely about players around the NBA was one factor Johnson cited when announcing his decision.
  • Almost in passing, Johnson mentioned during his presser on Tuesday that he “could have led the Knicks when (president) Steve Mills called,” but he considers himself a “Laker for life” (Twitter link via Knicks Film School).
  • There have been rumblings for months that ESPN was working on a story that focused on Johnson’s mistreatment of employees and would be “extremely unflattering” for Magic, says Sam Amick of The Athletic. However, Johnson denied that was a factor in his decision to step down. “I know that article is not an accurate article. I can tell you that now,” Johnson said, per Bill Oram of The Athletic. “… Now it’s some disgruntled, former Laker employees (talking to reporters). Yeah, they gonna say (what) they gonna say, ‘cause they wasn’t doing their jobs. So what is a person going to do? Point the finger bad about the person who fired them.”

Luke Walton notes/rumors:

  • Luke Walton‘s contract runs for two more years, though 2020/21 is a team option, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Johnson planned to fire Walton before deciding instead to step down, Wojnarowski adds.
  • Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports provides additional details on the Walton situation, writing that Magic was displeased with the head coach’s ability to make in-game adjustments and also felt that the coaching staff “lacked the experience and expertise to foster player development.”
  • Sources tell Haynes that Johnson wanted to replace Walton during the season, but Buss was reluctant to do so and didn’t give Magic the go-ahead to make a change until recently. Tyronn Lue, Monty Williams, and Mark Jackson would have been primary targets to replace Walton if Johnson had made a change.
  • During the infamous early-season meeting in which Johnson questioned Walton’s coaching performance, Magic told the head coach to “shut the f— up” at one point when Walton tried to intervene, says Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Reactions:

  • Lakers players and coaches were caught off guard by the news of Johnson’s resignation, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Walton said he found out about thew news when everyone else did, while Sam Amick of The Athletic confirms that LeBron didn’t know it was coming either. “What shocked me is how everybody else is shocked,” Rajon Rondo said. “Because nobody knew.”
  • Buss and the Lakers are better off without Johnson, Chris Mannix argues in a column for SI.com.
  • In his column for The Los Angeles Times, Bill Plaschke says the manner in which Johnson left the Lakers was as shocking as anything he’s seen during his 25 years covering the team. Plaschke also makes the case that Magic was never all-in on the job.
  • While the Anthony Davis saga wasn’t the main reason for Johnson’s resignation, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry couldn’t help but notice that the two heads of basketball operations involved in those trade discussions are now unemployed, as Nick Friedell of ESPN.com details. Gentry said he has never seen a situation as “toxic” as the Davis trade request during his time in the NBA. “Not this toxic, no,” Gentry said. “Not that affected two teams. And two guys. One lost his job, and the other one resigned from his job. So no, in 31 years I hadn’t had anything that would equal this kind of fallout. No, I haven’t.”

Next steps:

  • In a column for The Athletic, Bill Oram contends that Buss must look outside of her circle of friends to replace Johnson, focusing on the best and brightest NBA executives, since the Lakers’ job is a coveted one.
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com (Insider-only link) writes that the Lakers need to find an executive who is willing to do the dirty work, appeals to star players, and who can set a positive culture. Pelton points to former Cavs GM David Griffin as one candidate who would fit the bill.

Latest On Lakers’ Head Coaching Position

It’s widely assumed that Luke Walton will be relieved of his head coaching duties this offseason, but the Lakers‘ head coach isn’t fazed by the all the reports.

“I fully expect to be coaching this team again next year,” Walton tells Bill Oram of The Athletic.

Mark Jackson, Rick Carlisle, and Jason Kidd have all been rumored to be possible targets for the Lakers should the franchise let Walton go. Doc Rivers was brought up as a candidate before he shot down those rumors by announcing that he had signed a contract extension with the Clippers.

Tyronn Lue-to-Los Angeles chatter has been ongoing in NBA circles, though a source tells Oram that Lue recently called Walton to assure the coach that the franchise did not reach out to him about the position. Lue would let Walton know if he was speaking with the Lakers out of “courtesy and friendship,” the source said.

Lue and Walton both have championship rings as members of the Lakers. When Walton found out LeBron James was coming to town, Lue provided advice to him on coaching the four-time MVP.

James’ first season in Los Angeles has been a disaster. The NBA postseason will carry on without LBJ for the first time since the 2004/05 campaign, which also happened to be the first season for the Lakers post-Shaq-Kobe divorce.

Walton has long had an advocate in owner Jeanie Buss, though sources tell Oram that team president Magic Johnson will make the call on who’s coaching the team next season.

“Unless someone from within our group is telling me that, I just view it like all the other things we’ve gone through as a team this year,” Walton said. “Those are things that I don’t have the time to worry about. I’ve got more important things to do like getting the team better and doing my job.”