The Los Angeles Lakers and Luke Walton mutually agreed to part ways on Friday, but let’s face it: the Lakers fired Walton after a disappointing 37-win season in LeBron James’ first year with the club.
In the wake of Magic Johnson stepping down as team president and Walton being dismissed, the Lakers are in a bit of disarray right now and lack leadership, so their next head-coaching hire needs to be a good one.
Here are the five best coaching options for Los Angeles:
Jason Kidd Mark Jackson Ettore Messina Ty Lue
5. Dave Joerger
Dave Joerger was just—for some reason—fired from his post as head coach of the Sacramento Kings in spite of a very impressive season in which he had the Kings in playoff contention for much of the year, so he seems like a natural idea here.
Joerger has some experience and players seem to love him.
Of course, it’s hard to determine whether or not he would be James’ type of guy, and we all know that LeBron will have to sign off on any coach the Lakers decide to hire.
But, based on what is out there, Joerger seems like someone who can earn LeBron’s respect.
4. Ettore Messina
LeBron loves Gregg Popovich, so he probably has quite a bit of respect for Ettore Messina, who has been serving as an assistant coach under Popovich since 2014.
Messina has generated plenty of head-coaching interest before, so, sooner or later, he is going to land a head-coaching job somewhere.
Why not the Lakers?
Let’s also remember that Messina has a terrific relationship with Kobe Bryant and served as a consultant for Los Angeles for two years in 2011 and 2012, so there is some history here.
Messina seems like a guy who would be great for LA’s young players, as well.
3. Mark Jackson
Mark Jackson has been out of the NBA since 2014, and the Golden State Warriors have gone on to win three championships (and counting) without him, but he absolutely deserves some credit for the Warriors’ meteoric rise.
Jackson instilled the defense-first mentality that has made Golden State a top-flight defensive ballclub during its run, and he is a no-nonsense guy that LeBron would likely listen to.
Not only that, but Jackson, a former point guard himself, could be a great influence on Lonzo Ball.
Jackson seems to check all of the boxes.
2. Jason Kidd
The last we saw Jason Kidd, he was grooming Giannis Antetokounmpo before getting fired in Milwaukee.
Kidd does not exactly have the greatest track record as an NBA coach, as he did not really succeed in Brooklyn and his time with the Bucks was limited, but he is a Hall-of-Famer and one of the greatest floor generals to ever play the game.
Chances are, LeBron will respect and heed just about everything he has to say, and what better guy to mentor Ball than the point guard to whom Ball was compared when he came out of UCLA?
Kidd may not be a slam-dunk X’s and O’s guy, but he seems like a rather perfect fit for James and the Lakers’ youngsters.
1. Ty Lue
If ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
LeBron spent two-and-a-half years under the direction of Ty Lue in Cleveland and won a championship during Lue’s first half-season at the helm in 2016.
It was clear that James held Lue in high esteem, which was part of the reason why he ran David Blatt out of town. Remember: Lue had served as an assistant under Blatt for a year-and-a-half before taking over.
We already know James listens to Lue, and we already know the two guys have won together.
It’s hard to imagine a realistic hire that would make LeBron happier.