– Luke Walton signed as new Lakers’ coach
– Luke Walton returns to Lakers after three years of retirement as the NBA team’s player to take over as coach after Warriors’ season ends
Luke Walton signed as new Lakers’ coach
Luke Walton has on Friday agreed to be the Los Angeles Lakers’ new head coach, with the sides agreeing to a multi-year deal.
Walton spent nine seasons with the Lakers, winning two championship rings as a smart, steady contributor.
Three years after his retirement, the 36-year-old Southern California native is back to become the 26th head coach in franchise history.
“I loved everything about my time at Golden State and learning from Steve (Kerr),” Walton said.
“I’ll forever be grateful to him, the organization and the team. But I have always dreamed of being a head coach and the chance to do that for an organization like the Lakers doesn’t come around very often.”
Luke Walton will become the eighth former Lakers player to go on to coach the team. Five of the previous are currently in the Hall of Fame, but many have had short coaching tenures.
Walton has been serving as an assistant for the Golden State Warriors, who granted him permission to interview with the Lakers after their first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Houston Rockets concluded Wednesday.
According to a source, Ramona Shelburne that Walton was the Lakers’ first choice and the only candidate they interviewed.
They had other meetings lined up but canceled them after Thursday’s interview with Walton in Oakland, California.
“We’re excited to bring Luke back to Los Angeles, where we feel he’s going to start an outstanding coaching career,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a release.
“He’s one of the brightest young coaching minds in the game, and we feel fortunate that he’ll be leading the on-court future of our team.”
The 36-year-old had become a hot coaching commodity after posting a 39-4 record — including a record 24-0 start — as the Warriors’ interim coach this season while Kerr was recovering from complications stemming from two off season back surgeries.
“I’m incredibly happy for Luke,” Kerr said in a release.
“As we witnessed earlier this season, he has all of the intangibles necessary to be an outstanding head coach in this league, including a terrific understanding of the game the ability to communicate with a wide range of people.”
“We are thrilled for Luke ,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for him to return home and serve as head coach for one of the most storied franchises in sports.
Luke has done an incredible job during his two-year stint with our team and has played a significant role in our success, including last year’s championship and again this season under some very unique circumstances.
We are certainly going to miss Luke after we conclude our playoff run this season, but we wish him the very best with the Lakers.”