The Lakers are reportedly in the process of hiring former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue to replace the fired Luke Walton. Contractual parameters are being sorted out, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Lue’s hiring would come with the blessing of LeBron James, who of course won a championship playing for Lue in 2016, and also utterly controls the outlook of the Lakers organization over the next decade.
Holding aside however you might feel about the sagacity, purely as a basketball matter, of selecting Lue as their next head coach, something needs to be said about the Lakers’ process for vetting and selecting and hiring coaching candidates. The Lakers had reportedly settled on Lue and Monty Williams as finalists for their open position, but according to Marc Stein of the New York Times, decision-makers within the organization were divided between the two, with some worrying “that hiring LeBron’s former Cleveland Cavaliers coach would be giving James too much control in Lakerland.”
That’s a reasonable concern. Holding aside, again, however you might feel about the sagacity of picking out Monty Williams and Tyronn Lue as the finalists for the head coaching job of a team that aspires beyond mediocrity, it’s reasonable to worry that the wholesale remaking of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball operation into a reassembled Cleveland Cavaliers outfit might send the wrong message about who exactly runs the show. It’s reasonable to view that potential conflict as a mark against Lue, if not exactly a mark in Williams’s favor. Then again, if Lue is the right man for the job [snort], maybe the right thing to do is to can the image concerns and pull the trigger.
At any rate, that’s a nuanced challenge in search of a nuanced solution. Here’s how the Lakers solved it, per Stein:
Lue’s supporters within the organization ultimately deduced that there was only one way Lue could rise to the level of unanimous choice to succeed Walton—by waiting until Williams was no longer available.
So. The Los Angeles Lakers, one of the most important franchises in professional sports, resolved their coaching search by waiting for the Phoenix Suns to hire one of their finalists, in order to back their way into unanimity for a head coach who was recently fired by the Cleveland Cavaliers. But before you pull your own head off and punt it into a wood chipper, know that the process was reportedly influenced by a man who was shit-canned for incompetence by the New York Knicks:
Kurt Rambis — a former Lakers player and coach whose wife, Linda, is a trusted confidant and adviser to team owner Jeanie Buss — has had a significant role in the hiring process, sources said.
The Lakers are in great shape. Things are great.