Lakers Rumors: Luke Walton a Top Target for Suns HC Job If Fired
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton looks at the scoreboard during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

If the Los Angeles Lakers move on from Luke Walton after this season, he will be in demand for another head coaching job.

Per Sean Deveney of Sporting News, Walton is considered a “top potential replacement” for the Phoenix Suns if Igor Kokoskov is fired. 

Deveney also listed the Cleveland Cavaliers as a potential destination for Walton. He played 71 games for the team from 2011-13 before retiring to go into coaching. 

Speculation about Walton’s future has been an ongoing topic all season, though it’s picked up steam recently as the Lakers have fallen out of playoff contention. 

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported earlier this month Walton “will almost certainly be dismissed after the 2018-19 season.”

After going 35-47 under Walton in 2017-18, expectations changed dramatically for the Lakers with the signing of LeBron James last summer. They looked like a playoff contender with a 20-14 record following a 127-101 win over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas. 

That was the same day James suffered a strained groin that kept him out of action for 17 games. Los Angeles’ season fell apart from that point with 11 wins in the last 34 games. 

Walton won an NBA championship as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors in 2014-15. He also went 39-4 as the team’s interim head coach the following season when Steve Kerr took a leave of absence after undergoing back surgery. 

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