2016 marks the end of the Kobe Bryant era in Los Angeles and the beginning of the Luke Walton era. On Friday, the Lakers announced that they have agreed to terms with current Golden State Warriors assistant and ex-interim head coach, Luke Walton, to become the new man in charge for the Lakers. Walton will reportedly finish out the postseason with Golden State before taking over in LA. The news comes just five days after the Lakers fired their former head coach, Byron Scott.
OFFICIAL: Lakers Announce Agreement With Luke Walton to Become New Head Coach: https://t.co/FNUOe1uCZ0
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 30, 2016
Exact details on Walton’s contract length and his annual salary still remain unknown, but ESPN has reported that it is a multi-year contract. Walton, 36, played nine seasons with the Lakers from 2003-2012 and won two NBA Championships as a contributing power forward off the bench in 2009 and 2010.
Walton was reportedly the only candidate that the Lakers interviewed for the job, and after Walton helped lead the Golden State Warriors to a 24-0 start and a 39-4 record as the team’s interim coach while Steve Kerr recovered from back surgery, it was only a matter of time until somebody offered him a full-time gig as a head coach. Because Walton is a former Laker, this has to be his dream job and an opportunity that he absolutely could not have passed up not matter how good things are going up in the Bay area. However, Walton’s job in LA will not be an easy one as he will now be put in charge of almost completely rebuilding the Los Angeles Lakers franchise. Especially, when you consider the fact that the majority of the players that Walton will be put in charge of are still just out of college and are still in the NBA development process.
The Lakers are hoping that Luke Walton can connect with these younger players on this roster and make the players inside that locker room more connected with one another, especially after the disastrous D’Angelo Russell/Nick Young incident. Ideally, any NBA franchise that wants to see success must possess a family-type of an environment inside their locker room, and not one that has players feuding with one another via social media/reports by TMZ. Granted, its Los Angeles, and the whole Hollywood/movie star scene is a pretty big part of the LA Lakers franchise. However, Luke Walton understands that there is a big difference between embracing the Hollywood lifestyle, and letting it consume and destroy your team like it almost did to the Lakers this past season. Luke Walton is the right man for this job, as he has been there and he’s seen it all when it comes to being an NBA player, and most importantly: an LA Laker. If all goes to plan, the Lakers have a bright future ahead with Luke Walton now in charge.